First trading day of November

Next Monday will be the first trading day (FTD) of November.

The market has a tendency to be strong on the FTD of a month. And this effect has been even more pronounced in recent years.

Since 1984, the FTSE 100 Index has risen on average 0.17% on the November FTD. The index has had a positive return on this day in 67% of years since 1984.

Since 2000, the performance has been a little stronger on the November FTD, with an average return of 0.2% on the day, with positive returns seen in 79% of years.

The following chart shows the returns for every November FTD since 1984.

First trading day of November (1984-2013) [2014]

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Last trading day of October

Tomorrow will be the last trading day (LTD) of October.

The LTDs of months used to be stronger than average, but in recent years they have been weak. This is quite different from the first trading days of months which strongly out-perform the average for all days, and where the effect has strengthened in recent years.

Since 1984 the market has on average risen 0.47% on the LTD of October, with positive returns in 70% of all years, which makes it easily the strongest LTD of any month in the year.

However, as can be seen in the chart, the behaviour of the October LTD has changed markedly over time. For the 19 years from 1984 the market only fell twice on the October LTD; but in the 11 years since 2003 the market has only risen significantly on this day in three years.

The following chart shows the FTSE 100 Index returns for every October LTD since 1984.

Last trading day of October (1984-2013) [2014]

 

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Shares that like/dislike November (2014)

Shares that like November

The following table lists the four FTSE 350 shares that have the best returns in November over the last ten years. For example, Greene King has an average return of 6.0% for the month of November. Each stock has risen in at least nine of the past ten years in November.

Company TIDM Avg(%)
Greene King 6.0
Babcock International Group 5.8
Shire 4.7
Compass Group 4.6

Shares that dislike November

The following table lists the three FTSE 350 shares that have the worst returns in November over the last ten years. For example, Tullet Prebon has an average return of -7.3% for the month of November. All three stocks have fallen in eight of the past ten years in November.

Company TIDM Avg(%)
Tullett Prebon -7.3
Lloyds Banking Group -5.5
CSR -3.5

An equally-weighted portfolio of the above strong November stocks would have out-performed every year an equally-weighted portfolio of the above weak November stocks by an average of 10.7 percentage points in November for the past ten years.

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The new Almanac for 2015 has just been released

the-uk-stock-market-almanac-2015The new edition of the Almanac, The UK Stock Market Almanac 2015, has just been published.

A previous blog post detailed all the new studies and strategies in the new 2015 edition. The 2015 Almanac also updates some of the studies of seasonality trends and anomalies that have featured in previous editions. Including-

  • Sell in May – this extraordinary effect remains as strong as ever: since 1982 the market in the winter months has out-performed the market in the summer months by an average 8.8 percentage points annually; in the year since the last edition of the Almanac the out-performance was 6.3 percentage points.
  • Day Of The Week Strategy – a strategy exploiting the day of the week anomaly that significantly out-performs the FTSE 100 Index.
  • FTSE 100/250 Monthly Switching Strategy – on the back of research into the comparative monthly performance of the two indices, a strategy of switching between the two markets is found that greatly out-performs either index individually.
  • FTSE 100/S&P 500 Switching Strategy – the strong/weak months for the FTSE 100 Index relative to the S&P 500 Index are identified; and a strategy of switching between the two markets is found that produces twice the returns than either market individually.
  • Low/high Share Price Strategy – a portfolio of the 20 lowest priced shares in the market has out-performed a portfolio of the 20 highest priced shares by an average 43.4 percentage points each year since 2002.
  • Quarterly Sector Strategy – The strongest/weakest sectors for each quarter are identified; and the Quarterly Sector Strategy continues to beat the market.
  • Monthly Share Momentum Strategy – a monthly re-balanced momentum portfolio of FTSE 100 stocks beats the market by an average of 1.1 percentage points per month.
  • Tuesday Reverses Monday Strategy – since year 2000 market returns on Tuesdays have been the reverse of those on Monday. A strategy using this effect has significantly out-performed the FTSE 100 Index over this period.
  • FTSE 100 Index quarterly reviews – as before, it is found that share prices tend to rise immediately before a company joins the FTSE 100 index and are then flat or fall back. Before a company leaves the index share prices tend to fall and then rise after the exit.
  • FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 indices – the trend continues for the FTSE 100 Index to greatly under-perform the mid-cap index in January and February and out-perform it in September and October.
  • Holidays and the market – in recent years the market has been significantly strong on the days immediately before and after holidays and weak fours days before and three days after holidays.
  • Summer portfolio – a portfolio of five (summer) stocks has out-performed the FTSE 350 Index every year for ten years with an average annual out-performance of 8.5 percentage points.
  • Market seasonality (day/week/month) – December is still the strongest month in the year for the stock market, while September is the weakest. Analysis is also updated for weekly and daily performance of the market (Sinclair Numbers).
  • The January Effect – analysis suggests that performance in January is inversely proportional to company size (i.e. small companies like January!)
  • Day of the week performance – Wednesday is the new weakest day of the week (Monday used to be), and the strongest days are now Tuesday and Thursday.
  • Turn of the month – The market tends to be weak a few days either side of the turn of the month, but abnormally strong on the first trading of the new month (except December).
  • First/last trading day of the month – the first trading days of April and July are found to be unusually strong, while that of December is weak. The last trading day of October is found to be the year’s strongest, while the weakest are those for February and November.
  • Trading around Christmas – how do share prices behave around Christmas?
  • Strong/weak shares by month – analysis of FTSE 350 shares reveals those that have performed consistently strongly or weakly for each month for the past ten years. Some shares have risen (or fallen) in a specific month for every year since 2003.
  • Market momentum grid – a reference grid is presented giving the historic tendency of the market to rise (fall) following a series of consecutive daily/weekly/monthly/yearly rises (falls). As before, it is found that trends become more established the longer they last, and the market displays greater momentum for longer frequencies.
  • UK and US markets – the correlation between the UK and US markets has been increasing since the 1950s, and in the years since 2010 has been stronger than ever.
  • Correlation between UK and international markets – analysis of the correlation of the UK with six overseas stock markets. Where to find diversification?
  • The Long-Term Formula – the formula that describes the long-term trend of the stock market and gives a forecast for the FTSE 100 in December 2050.

In addition to the above, analysis is updated for the standard Almanac features such as: comparative performance of UK equity indices, company ranking by financial and price behaviour criteria, price history profile of the FTSE All Share Index, sector profiles of the FTSE 100 and 250 indices, annual performance of sectors etc.

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Sell in May (risk-adjusted returns)

The Sell in May effect (also known as the Halloween or Six Month effects) describes the tendency of the stock market to perform strongly in the period November to April in comparison to the period May-October. This effect has been observed in markets worldwide and has existed for many decades.

The following charts analyse this effect by looking at the performance of three portfolios:

  1. All Year portfolio – this portfolio is 100% invested in the FTSE All Share Index all year round
  2. Winter portfolio – is 100% invested in the FTSE All Share Index only in the months November to April (and is out of the market for the other half of the year).
  3. Summer portfolio – is 100% invested in the FTSE All Share Index only in the months May to October (and is out of the market for the other half of the year).

Cumulative returns

The following three charts plot the performance of the three portfolios to the present day from 1984, 1994 and 2004.

 

Sell in May (1984-2014)

Sell in May (1994-2014)Sell in May (2004-2014)As can be seen the divergence in performance between the Winter and Summer portfolios is quite remarkable.

CAGR

The following chart partly summarises the performance by plotting the CAGR (compound annual growth rate) for the portfolios over the three periods.

Sell in May (CAGR) [2014]The two features to note are the CAGR for the Winter portfolio is greater than the CAGR for the All Year portfolio for all three periods, and that the CAGRs for the Summer portfolio are negative for all three periods studied.

Volatility

The following chart shows the volatility of the three portfolios over the three periods. In this case volatility is calculated as the standard deviation of the portfolio daily returns.

Sell in May (Volatility) [2014]The features to note here are that the Winter portfolio consistently has the lowest volatility in each period, while the Summer portfolio has the highest. An explanation for this might be that the most volatile period of the year for the stock market has historically been September-October.

So, beyond superior returns, a feature of the Winter portfolio is that it avoids the most volatile period of the year..

Sharpe Ratio

The following chart to some extent combines the previous two into one by plotting the Sharpe Ratio for the three portfolios over the three periods. The Sharpe Ratio is one method of measuring the risk-adjusted returns of a portfolio.

Sell in May (Sharpe Ratio) [2014]With its superior returns and lower volatility the Winter portfolio can be seen to quite easily have the highest Sharpe Ratios for all three periods studied.


 

Other articles on the Sell in May effect.

 

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New edition of the Almanac just published

the-uk-stock-market-almanac-2015The new edition of the Almanac, The UK Stock Market Almanac 2015, has just been released.

The 2015 edition is packed with new research. New strategies and studies appearing in the Almanac for the first time include-

  • Quarterly sector momentum strategy – a portfolio comprising the best FTSE 350 sector from the previous quarter, and re-balanced quarterly, out-performs the FTSE All Share Index by an average of 2.7 percentage points per month. A variant – buying the worst sector of the previous quarter – has performed even better.
  • Monthly sector momentum strategy – a portfolio comprising the two worst performing sectors of the previous month, and re-balanced monthly, out-performed the FTSE 350 Index by a monthly average of 1.1%.
  • Bounceback portfolio – a strategy that buys the worst performing shares in a year, and then sells them after three months into the new year; the strategy has beaten the market every year since 2003 except one year.
  • FTSE 250 quarterly reviews – what effect does joining or leaving the FTSE 250 Index have on company share prices?
  • MPC meetings – how does the monthly MPC announcement on interest rates affect share prices?
  • FOMC announcements – how do US and UK equities behave in the days around the periodic announcements of the policy statement of the Federal Open Market Committee?
  • Correlation of UK equity markets – if you want to diversify away from FTSE 100 Index, how effective will this be investing in the FTSE 250, FTSE Small Cap, FTSE Fledgling or FTSE AIM All Shares indices?
  • Daylight saving effect – what is the effect on financial markets of the switches to and from daylight saving time?
  • Sell Rosh Hashanah, Buy Yom Kippur – the US equity market tends to be weak between these two Jewish holidays, is there a similar effect in the UK market?
  • US holidays and European markets – the average daily returns for the European markets when the US market is closed is 0.32%, which is 15 times greater than the daily returns on all days.
  • Friday 13th – is Friday 13th unlucky for the stock market?
  • The Market’s Decennial Cycle – can analysis of the market’s performance in the equivalent years of decades reveal any pattern of behaviour?
  • Diversification with ETFs – ranking of the 40 ETFs with the highest trading volumes by their correlation with the FTSE 100 Index.
  • Lunar calendar and the stock market – do the phases of the moon affect the stock market?
  • The average market month – by taking the average performance of the market on each day of a month it is possible to create a chart of the average performance of the market for that month, and then to combine the 12 charts to produce a chart of the average behaviour of the market in all months.
  • The average market year – the performance and volatility of the market for an average year.
  • Women directors – what is the effect of female board members on company share prices?
  • FTSE index reviews – a brief survey of academic papers on the quarterly reviews of the FTSE equity indices.
  • Football and the stock market – what have academic papers got to say about the relationship between results on the field and subsequent football club share prices?
  • The Ramadan Effect – what effect does Ramadan have on stock markets in Muslim countries?
  • Weekly market returns and volatility – how weekly volatility has changed over the decades.

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Lunar calendar and the stock market (update)

Today will see a full moon and a total lunar eclipse (best seen from the Pacific and neighbouring regions).

A previous post looked at the relationship between the lunar calendar and the stock market. The below updates the chart that appeared in that previous post.

Lunar eclipses and the FTSE 100 Index [2014]Since the previous post there have been three total lunar eclipses:

  1. 25 May 2013 – the timing of the eclipse coincided with the high point of the year for the FTSE 100; in the four weeks following the eclipse the index fell 10%.
  2. 18 Oct 2013 – the eclipse occurred in the middle of an upswing.
  3. 14 Apr 2014 – the eclipse marked the bottom of a short down trend; the market rose 5% in the following four weeks.
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Average market behaviour in October

The following chart plots the average performance of the FTSE 100 Index during October since 1984.

Average month chart - October (2014)As can be seen, historically the market has risen the first two weeks of October, then fallen back the following week and a half, but ended strongly over the last few days.


 

September 2014

The following chart shows the average performance of the market in September (1984-2013) and overlays the actual performance in September 2014.

Average month chart - September overlay September 2014 (2014)As can be seen, the market in September 2014 broadly followed the general trend for all Septembers, falling consistently for the first three weeks, but then selling off more than usual in the final week in 2014.

 

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Strong/weak sectors in October

There have been no sectors that have consistently out-performed the market in October.

The following table lists the sectors that have been weak in October.

Sector TIDM
Automobiles & Parts
Construction & Materials
Electricity
Equity Investment Instruments
Food & Drug Retailers
Health Care Equipment & Services
Household Goods
Industrial Transportation
Life Insurance
Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology

 

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The Stock Market in October

We are in the market’s rock’n’roll period of the year. Stock market volatility is fairly even for the first eight months of the year. In other words, historically, from January to August the size of the daily ups and downs of the market are pretty much the same from month to month. But daily volatility starts increasing in September and peaks in October. Since 1984, average daily volatility has increased 50% in this month.

Monthly returns of FTSE All Share Index - October (1982-2013)Of course, the 1987 stock market crash greatly influences the calculation of October’s volatility and also therefore its bad reputation among investors. However, this is not strictly fair, as October is one of the stronger months of the year for the market. Since 1984 the average return for the market in October has been 0.8% (ranking it fifth of the 12 months), and over the same period the market’s return has been positive in 77% of years (second only to top month December). As can be seen in the accompanying chart, put 1987 to one side and the record looks pretty positive – the market has fallen in October in only four of the past 22 years.

But the record of October is less good outside of the UK. An academic paper of 2013 analysed 70 of the 78 operational stock markets around the world and found that October was the third weakest month of the year on average for the 70 markets. Only in Bangladesh was October found to be the strongest month.

The month is one of only two months (the other is September) that FTSE 100 stocks tend to out-perform the mid-cap FTSE 250 stocks – since 1986 the FTSE 100 Index has on average out-performed the FTSE 250 Index by 0.8 percentage points in October.

October is important as marking the end of the weak six-month period of the year (which starts with “Sell in May”). So this month investors may be looking to increase their exposure to equities anticipating the coming strong six-month period November-April; which might partly explain the last trading day of October which is the strongest last trading day of a month in the year.

In an average month for October the market tends to rise in the first two weeks, then to fall back, before a surge in prices in the last few days of the month.

Diary

Dates to watch for this month are: 3 Oct – US Nonfarm payroll report, 9 Oct – MPC interest rate announcement, 28 Oct – Two-day FOMC meeting starts.


Article first appeared in Money Observer

Further articles on October.

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