Pinch, punch . . . first day of the month. Despite a great start — the FTSE 100 rose 1.7 per cent in the first eight days of the new year — January was a miserable month for equity investors, with the benchmark index trading down 154.22 points or 2 per cent over the month, the largest one-month point and percentage decline since November 2017. Will February prove any more profitable for equity investors? The FTSE all-share index has traded higher every February since 2009, according to the UK Stock Market Almanac, with an average return of 1.6 per cent. For the latest on the markets follow me on Twitter @fletcherr for regular updates.