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Interestingly, the first day of the fourth quarter has been up more than 1% four out of eight times this decade. Today's S&P 500 gain of 1.84% was the best start to the fourth quarter since 2003. Below we highlight all S&P 500 gains of 1% or more on the first day of the fourth quarter since 1945. Overall, the gains for the rest of the quarter have been strong when this has happened, with the exception of one year -- 1987.

For more on the similarities, or lack thereof, between 2007 and 1987, check out Michael Santoli's "Getting a Handle on 1987" from this weekend's Barron's.

Source: Strong Start To Q4 - More To Follow?