Equities in US presidential election years

The 14 charts below show the performance of the FTSE All-Share index over the 12 months of a US presidential election year. For example, the first chart shows the January-December performance of the UK market in 1960, the year John Kennedy was elected President of the United States. The dashed line in each chart indicates the date of the election.

Market in US presidential elections years

Historically, the UK market tends to rise in the few weeks leading up to the election.

The following chart plots the annual returns of the FT All-Share Index in years of US presidential elections.

FT All-Share annual returns in US presidential years


See also:

Social Share Toolbar

GBP and USD in 3Q 2016

GBP

The following chart gives the changes in changes currency rate for the UK pound for the third quarter 2016. For example, the UK pound fell 9.1% against the South African Rand in 3Q 2016.

GBP forex rates 3Q 2016

USD

The following chart gives the changes in changes currency rate for the US dollar for the third quarter 2016. For example, the US dollar increased 1.1% against the Canadian dollar in 3Q 2016.

USD forex rates 3Q 2016

 

Social Share Toolbar

International markets 2016 3Q YTD

The following charts plot the performance of a selection of world markets over the first three quarters of 2016. 

Domestic currency

International markets 2016 3Q YTD returns

GBP

The following chart plots the GBP-adjusted returns (i.e. these are the returns for a GB pound investor).

International markets 2016 3Q YTD [GBP] returns

USD

The following chart plots the USD-adjusted returns (i.e. these are returns for a US dollar investor).

International markets 2016 3Q YTD [USD] returns

Social Share Toolbar

International markets 2016 3Q

The following charts plot the performance of a selection of world markets in the 3rd quarter 2016. 

Domestic currency

International markets 2016 3Q returns

GBP

The following chart plots the GBP-adjusted returns (i.e. these are the returns for a GB pound investor).

International markets 2016 3Q [GBP] returns

USD

The following chart plots the USD-adjusted returns (i.e. these are returns for a US dollar investor).

International markets 2016 3Q [USD] returns

Social Share Toolbar

Sell Rosh Hashanah, Buy Yom Kippur

In 1935, the Pennsylvania Mirror referred to a Wall Street adage, “Sell before Rosh Hashanah; buy before Yom Kippur”. Recently an academic paper quoted this article and set out to establish if the adage was true and still valid today.

The theory is that the market is weak during the approximately seven trading-days gap between the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah ) and the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). To test this theory the authors studied the results of short-selling the Dow Jones Industrial Average on one of the three days before Rosh Hashanah and buying back on one of the three days following Yom Kippur. They analysed the nine different combinations of trade dates, i.e. selling on the third day before Rosh Hashanah (R-3) and buying back on the day after Yom Kippur (Y+1), R-3 and Y+2, R-3 and Y+3, R-2 and Y+1 etc. The period tested was 1907 to 2008.

The paper found that the mean returns for the DJIA for the nine trade dates considered ranged from -0.47% for R-3 and Y+2 (i.e. shorting three days before Rosh Hashanah and covering two days after Yom Kippur) , to -1.01 for R-2 and Y+1.

In other words, they found that the market had indeed been weak between the two Jewish holidays, and that five of the nine scenarios yielded statistically significant results. They checked to see if this Jewish Holiday Effect might have diminished in recent years and found that the effect over 1998-2008 was actually stronger for six of the nine trade scenarios than for the prior period 1907-1998.

So, what’s the reason for this?

The authors of the paper found that this was not a result of the influence of other anomalies (e.g. the weekend effect), nor was it the result of data outliers. One Wall Street trader gave the traditional explanation that people of the Jewish religion “wished to be free (as much as possible) of the distraction of worldly goods during a period of reflection and self-appraisal.” Of course Jewish traders are only a small part of the market, but at the margin their withdrawal from the market over this period may increase volatility and risk and thus discourage others from trading, and then the arbitrage traders exploiting the effect can make it self-fulfilling.

Is this a peculiarity of just the US market, or is the effect present in other markets?

The above cited paper starts by quoting a 9 September 1915 New York Times article titled “The London Market Quiet – Jewish Holiday Causes Small Attendance on the Exchange”, the newspaper reported that money and discount rates on the London Stock Exchange were “easy today” and attendance at the exchange was low due to the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah.

So, might this effect still be in force in the London market today?

The following chart shows the mean returns for the FTSE 100 Index for the nine combinations of trade dates (as above) for the period 1984-2013.

Average FTSE 100 returns for period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur [1984-2015]

As can be seen, the market was weak for all nine combinations of trade dates over the Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur period. The weakest combination was for selling on the third day before Rosh Hashanah and buying back on the second day after Yom Kippur (T2) when the mean return has been -1.3%.

The Jewish Holiday Effect would therefore seem to be as strong in the London market as that in New York.


The above is an extract from the Harriman Stock Market Almanac 2017.

 

Social Share Toolbar

Olympic Games and the stockmarket

Does analysis of the historic behaviour of stock markets around the time of the four-yearly Olympic Games have anything of interest for investors?

The Olympic Games are a major event, often requiring much spending to improve infrastructure; and such spending can provide a fillip to a nation’s economy. If this affects prices on the stock market it is likely to happen soon after the initial announcement of a country winning the competition to host the event – so, long before the Olympics actually take place. The hosts for the Olympic Games are usually announced seven years in advance.

However, in this analysis we will look at the performance of host country stock markets in the year of the Olympics itself.

The following chart shows the performance of stock markets in countries that have recently hosted the Olympics: US (1984, 1996), Australia (2000), Greece (2004), UK (2012). (NB. China was omitted as it hosted the Games in 2008 – a year when stock markets had their focus on other matters; the share price of National Bank of Greece was used as a proxy for the Greek stock market.). The index data has been re-based to start at 100. The Games generally take place in August-September (indicated by the shaded portion in the chart).

Stock market performance of Olympics hosts

There are no easily discernible general trends from the above chart.

To analyse this in some more detail, the following chart plots the average performance for all the markets over three periods:

1         Before games: from 1 January to the start of the games

2         During games: the two-three week period of the games

3         After games: from the end of the games to 31 December

The darker bars show the average performance calculated excluding China and Greece.

Average performance in year of OlympicsGenerally, equities in host country markets appear to be weak in the months leading up to the games, perhaps when the media runs stories of cost overruns and missed timetables. And then there appears to be a relief rally afterwards.

Note:

A recent academic paper analysed the performance of stocks for two hosting countries: China in 2008 and the UK in 2012. The paper summarised its findings as-

Olympic “euphoria” is sufficient in both China and the UK to influence stock returns and valuations but the overall fundamental benefits of the Olympics are small.


This article is an extract from The UK Stock Market Almanac 2016.

Social Share Toolbar

Currency rate changes 2016 1H

GBP

The following chart shows currency rate changes against GBP for the first half 2016. For example, GBP fell 22.5% against the Yen.

Currency rate changes against GBP 2016 1H

USD

The following chart shows currency rate changes against USD for the first half 2016. For example, USD increased 10.5% against GBP.

Currency rate changes against USD 2016 1H

 

Social Share Toolbar

International markets 2016 1H

The following charts plot the performance of a selection of world markets in the first half 2016.

Domestic currency

International markets 2016 1H returns

GBP

The following chart plots the GBP-adjusted returns (i.e. these are the returns for a GB pound investor).

International markets 2016 1H [GBP] returns

USD

The following chart plots the USD-adjusted returns (i.e. these are returns for a US dollar investor).

International markets 2016 1H [USD] returns

 

Social Share Toolbar

International markets 2016 2Q

The following charts plot the performance of a selection of world markets in the second quarter 2016. 

Domestic currency

International markets 2016 2Q returns

GBP

The following chart plots the GBP-adjusted returns (i.e. these are the returns for a GB pound investor).

International markets 2016 2Q [GBP] returns

USD

The following chart plots the USD-adjusted returns (i.e. these are returns for a US dollar investor).

International markets 2016 2Q [USD] returns

 

Social Share Toolbar

FTSE 100 around FOMC announcements

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is the monetary policy-making body of the U.S. Federal Reserve System. Since 1981 the FOMC has had eight scheduled meetings per year, the timing of which is quite irregular, The schedule of meetings for a particular year is announced ahead of time [calendar here].

Starting in 1994, the FOMC began to issue a policy statement (“FOMC statement”) after the meetings that summarised the Committee’s economic outlook and the policy decision at that meeting. The FOMC statements are released around 14h15 Eastern Time.

Before 1994 monetary policy decisions were not announced; investors therefore had to guess policy actions from the size and type of open market operations in the days following each meeting. But since 1994 there has been far greater transparency over both the timing and the motivation for monetary policy actions.

This has led to a number of academic papers investigating the influence of these FOMC statements on financial markets. One such paper[1] found large average excess returns on U.S. equities in the 24-hour period immediately before the announcements (an effect the paper called the “Pre-FOMC Announcement Drift”). In other words, equities tended to be strong just before the FOMC statement. Further, these excess returns have increased over time and they account for sizable fractions of total annual realized stock returns. Quantifying this the paper says,

[since 1994] the S&P500 index has on average increased 49 basis points in the 24 hours before scheduled FOMC announcements. These returns do not revert in subsequent trading days and are orders of magnitude larger than those outside the 24-hour pre-FOMC window. As a result, about 80% of annual realized excess stock returns since 1994 are accounted for by the pre-FOMC announcement drift

A quite extraordinary finding!

And the relevance to UK equities is…?

The above quoted paper also found that such pre-FOMC excess returns occurred also in major international equity indices.

Let’s see if that is the case.

The following chart shows the average daily returns for the FTSE 100 Index for the seven days around the FOMC statements for the period 1994-2014. The seven days cover the three days leading up to the statement, the day of the statement itself A(0), and the then the three days after the statement. Given that the FOMC statement is usually released around 18h15 GMT (i.e. after the UK market has closed), A(0) can be taken as occurring in the 24 hours before the statement.

FTSE 100 around FOMC announcements

The result is quite clear, the average daily return for A(0) is 0.33%, over ten times greater than the average daily return on all other days. This does support the claim in the above referenced paper. It might also be interesting to note the weakness in equities on the day prior to the FOMC statement.


[1] David O. Lucca, Emanuel Moench, “The Pre-FOMC Announcement Drift” (2013)

Further articles on the Fed Rate and FOMC announcements.

Social Share Toolbar