Thoughts on the Third Quarter 2015

It has been four years (3rd quarter 2011) since the stock market had declines similar to the 3rd quarter 2015.  The major indexes had the following returns for the quarter:

S&P 500 (US large-cap)                           -6.44%
Russell 2000 (US small-cap)                   -11.92%
EAFE (international)                                  -9.72%
EEM (emerging markets)                         -17.26%

In the chart below, you can see the quick, scary decline in August that followed months of indecision in the S&P 500. 

What caused these declines?  Any or all of the following:
    China’s devaluation of their currency / China’s stock market tanking
    Oil and commodity prices crashing down
    Weakening Global and US growth
    The Fed threatening to raise interest rates
    The Fed threatening to not raise rates
    Fear of stock overvaluation

What can we expect going forward?  I am not sure that any of the reasons listed above for the 3rd quarter decline have been resolved.  Looking back to 2011, it took some time and several retests of the lows before the market resumed its uptrend.  Don’t be surprised to see similar retests of the August low before we get a sustained move up.