President Donald Trump pardons one lucky turkey to live happily ever after.
Maybe it’s the carb-induced food coma or investors feeling too complacent to hit the sell button around the holidays, but November, and in particular the Thanksgiving week, have traditionally been good to investors.
“Trading around Thanksgiving has a bullish tendency perhaps buoyed by the ‘holiday spirit,’” wrote Jeff Hirsch, editor of the Stock Trader’s Almanac, on his blog. “The Wednesday before and the Friday after Thanksgiving combined were up 34 times in 35 years. The only S&P 500 decline was in 1964.”
See: Hirsch’s historic data on S&P 500’s performance from Thanksgiving to year end from 1952
Analysts at Bespoke Investment Group also noted that since 1945, the S&P 500 SPX, +0.02% has recorded an average gain of 0.64% during Thanksgiving week, and in years where the large-cap index was already up over 10% year to date, such as 2017, the week was even better, with the index adding 0.76%.
However, during the current bull market, stocks have underperformed around Turkey Day, as the chart below shows. But even then, the S&P 500 has still risen six out of eight times.
This month also heralds the beginning of the best six months of the year for stocks, with the S&P 500 rising an average of 6.7%, according to Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA.
But in years when the stock market rose more than 5% during the “challenging” May to October period, the S&P 500 on average climbed 8.2%. This year, the benchmark gained roughly 8% from May to October in a blistering rally that shattered multiple records along the way.
“A strong return in the prior May-through-October period, as was the case in 2017, usually served as a running start to the following November-through-April period,” said Stovall in a recent report. “So while geopolitics, EPS misses, and interest-rate increases whipsaw investors’ emotions, history reminds us that this bull market has a good chance of remaining on the upswing for many more months to come.”
And if all these statistics are making your eyes glaze over, here’s a meaningless but amusing correlation that’s easier to digest—as turkeys go, so goes the market.
“When you compare the average size of turkeys in the U.S. to the S&P 500 Index, both have moved steadily higher over the decades,” observed Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist for LPL Financial, in a recent blog post.
He also added the proviso that the comparison is “purely spurious” and investors should never make investment decisions based on this particular correlation.
So far, this week is meeting the high bar set by its predecessors. The S&P 500 is up 0.8%, the Dow Industrial Average DJIA, -0.05% has gained 1% and the Nasdaq COMP, +0.04% is up 1.2%.