Although bonds and gold did well, the stock market was a roller-coaster ride. August was a scary month. On three days that month, the Dow Jones industrial average lost more than 500 points, including a 634.76-point plunge Aug. 8. There were instant recoveries, including more-than-400-point gains on two days in August. The volatility generally reflected economic uncertainty and disappointment in the lack of political will to reduce the debts in several countries, including the U.S. In this photo, a trader monitors offers near the close of trading in the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index options pit at the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) on Nov. 28, 2011.
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