Market returns around Christmas and New Year

This analysis looks at the historic behaviour of the FTSE 100 Index since 1984 on the days around Christmas and New Year. The days studied were:

  • Days 1-3: the three trading days leading up to Christmas.
  • Days 4-6: the three trading days between Christmas and New Year.
  • Days 7-9: the first three trading days of the new year.

The following chart shows the average returns for these nine days around Christmas and New Year.

Average day returns around Christmas (2013) And the following chart shows the proportion of positive returns on the nine days.

Positive day returns around Christmas (2013)

Analysis

  1. The average daily change of the FTSE100 index from 1984 for all days is 0.03%; it can be seen that all nine days around Christmas and New Year have higher average returns than the average for all days.
  2. The strongest days are historically the two days leading up to Christmas and the two immediately following it.
  3. Generally, the market strength increase to the fourth day (the trading day immediately after Christmas) – this is the strongest day of the whole period, when the markets increases 81% of years since 1984 with an average rise of 0.34%. Although it should be noted that the standard deviation is the highest on this day, meaning that the volatility of returns is greatest (the index actually fell 3% on this day in 1987 and 2002).
  4. The weakest day in the period is the final trading day of the year – this is perhaps not surprising with traders closing positions for the year end.
  5. The new year generally starts strongly, but not as strong as those days of the week before.
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