Not only was the month's loss sharp, at 3.9 percent for the Standard & Poor's 500 index, it was also the first in a long time. S&P 500 index funds snapped a record-setting run where they had made money for 15 straight months, including dividends.


The dominant fear for the month was the threat of higher inflation and interest rates. Concerns got so high that the S&P 500 spiraled down 10 percent in just nine days at one point, before trimming some of its losses. The index had five losses of 1 percent or more in February, more than it did in all of last year.

Ruh-roh -- is good news bad news, now? We sense a secular trading sentiment-shift...

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