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After the Meltdown
CNBC.com | October 03, 2011 | 09:47 AM EDT

September has almost always been a bad one for the stock market , so investors have good reason to welcome October, which—despite a couple of famous crashes—is generally an up month.

It was in October four years ago that the Dow 30 and S&P 500 hit new highs. Since then, we've seen a series of peaks and valleys, with a world of worry eating away at valuations.

The last six months have been particularly frustrating for investors; since stocks hit their post-recession peak in March, it's been one drag or another— Middle East turmoil , a Japanese nuclear meltdown, the reflaring of the European debt crisis, and a slowing U.S. economic recovery.

Still, investors may have have something to look forward to. Years after midterm elections are normally good ones for the market when there's a split government, as is the case now, because the dissenting political parties keep a lid on budget-busting initiatives. So the payoff may come yet.

Late October is often the beginning of a multi-month march higher for stocks, intensifying in November and December, and reaching all the way into February. That was the case last year.

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