By: Steve Smith
Market gurus and TV talking heads often fall back on easy to sum up their outlook or advice; and all the better if it rhymes. Two of the best-known bits of investing advice are to “Sell in May and go away” and to “Beware of the June swoon.”
While May and June have tripped up stocks historically, it’s interesting to note what happened when those months are positive. This happened in 2018, albeit in a muted fashion.
As LPL Research Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick explained, “When months that have been usually weak weren’t, that is a sign. In fact, when the S&P 500 Index has been up in both May and June, the rest of the year has been higher the past 11 times! Not to mention the full-year return has been lower only once (out of 22 times) going all the way back to 1950.”
As LPL Chart of the Day shows, returns the rest of the year and for the full year have been quite impressive when May and June closed higher.
What’s interesting to note is some the worst second half and full year performances have followed some of the strongest Mays and Junes, as highlighted by 1975 and 1987, which saw the infamous October crash.
Lastly, although we would never invest based on this, the first trading day of July has been the second-most likely day of the year to be green. In fact, this day has closed higher 72.1% of the time since 1950, with only the 21st trading session of July more likely to be green.
Interesting to note that today seems set to be a down day, which would stand out against the data set.
The upshot is that all of these market aphorisms and somewhat obscure back-tested data models should be taken with a grain of salt.
The best course of action is to always have a rational and balanced investment plan and stick with it throughout all the months and years. That’s today’s investing advice.