S&P 500 performance in January

The following chart plots the month returns of the S&P 500 Index for January for the period 1980-2017.

S&P 500 performance in January [1980-2017]

The characteristic of the market in January seems to have changed around the year 2000.

In the 20 years from 1980 to 1999 the S&P 500 index only fell in 5 years. But in the 18 years since 2000 the index has fallen in 10 years.

Further analysis of the S&P 500 Index in January over different periods can be seen in the following table.

S&P 500 in January [1980-2017]

In the 68 years from 1950 to 2017 the Index had an average month return in January of 0.9%, and saw positive returns in 59% of years. But since year 2000 this has dramatically changed, with an average month return of -1.1% and positive returns seen in only 44% of years.

Since 2000, January has the weakest record of performance for the S$P 500 Index.

The following chart plots the cumulative returns from 1980 for 12 portfolios, where each portfolio invests each year exclusively in just one of the 12 respective months. (and is in cash for the other 12 months of the year).

The best performing month over this period has been April, investing in just the month of April each year would have grown an investment of $100 in 1980 to $179 in 2017.

The worst month has been September (the bottom line in the following chart): a $100 investing just in the month of September would be worth $76 by 2017.

 

S&P 500 Index cumulative returns by month [1980-2017]

The cumulative portfolio for January has been highlighted in the above chart.

It can see that by year 2000, January was the strongest of all the months in the year, but that record changed after 2000. By 2017 the $100 would have grown to 130.

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Santa Rally 2017

The Santa Rally describes the tendency of the market to rise in the last two weeks of the year.

In 2017 the FTSE 100 Index had a return of +2.6% in the last two weeks of the year. So the Santa Rally effect held in 2017.

As can be seen in the following chart, the Santa Rally has only failed to deliver in two years since 2000.

Santa Rally [2000-2017]

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The Stock Market in January

January used to be one of the strongest months for shares in the whole year. From 1984 to 1999 the average FTSE All-Share return in the month was 3.3%, and as can be seen in the accompanying chart in those 16 years the market only fell twice in January. But after year 2000 things changed dramatically.

Since 2000 the average market return in January has been -1.6% with the market seeing positive returns in only six years, and in four years since 2000 the market has fallen more than 5% in the month. This makes January the worst of all months for shares since 2000.

Monthly returns of FTSE All Share Index - January (1984-2017)

January Effect

In the stock market this month is famous for the imaginatively-titled January Effect. This describes the tendency of small cap stocks to out-perform large caps in the month. This anomaly was first observed in the US, but it applies to the UK market as well. For example, since 1999 the FTSE Fledgling index out-performed the FTSE 100 Index in January every year until 2015. The small cap index under-performed large caps again in January 2016, suggesting that the anomaly was no more. But the historical trend re-asserted itself in 2017, with small caps out-performing large caps by 3.9 percentage points in January last year.

Outlook for 2018

Since 1800 the market has generally been relatively strong in the eighth year of the decade. It has been especially strong since 1958, with an average annual return of 11.0% and up every eight year of the decade until…yep, 2008. In that year the market fell 33% ­which has rather dented the performance of the decennial eighth years. Remove 2008 from the calculation, and the average annual return in eighth years since 1958 has been a stonking 19.3%.

The guidance from the centennial cycle is also encouraging; in 1718, 1818 and 1918 the respective annual returns for the UK market were +0.6%, +5.5%, and +11.0% ­ a steady progression of increasing returns suggesting a return of around 16% in 2018!

In the Chinese calendar it will be the year of the dog, which is excellent news. Since 1950, dog years (despite the name) have the best record of returns of the 12 zodiac signs. Since 1950, the average annual return for the S&P 500 Index has been 16.8% in dog years.

And, finally, the US presidential cycle has a significant effect on equity markets worldwide, including in the UK. 2018 will be the second year in the cycle and on average the UK market has seen returns of 2.0% in the second year of this cycle.


Article first appeared in Money Observer

Further articles on the market in January.

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International markets 2017

The following charts plot the performance of a selection of world markets in  2017.

Domestic currency

International markets 2017 Full Year Return

The following table gives a summary of performance for the fourth quarter, second half and full year in 2017.

International markets 2017 Summary 2

GBP

The following chart plots the GBP-adjusted returns (i.e. these are the returns for a GB pound investor) for the full year 2017.

International markets 2017 Full Year Return [GBP]

USD

The following chart plots the USD-adjusted returns (i.e. these are returns for a US dollar investor) for the full year 2017.

International markets 2017 Full Year Return [USD]

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Trumponomics

The Market Likes Trump

 

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UK FTSE 350 sector indices returns 2017: Y, 2H, 4Q

The following charts plot the performance of UK sector indices in 2017 for the whole year, second half and fourth quarter.

2017 FY

Sector index returns for January – December 2017

UK sector indices - 2017 returns

The data for the chart is given in the following table.

Index Rtn(%)
Industrial Metals 71.3
Electronic & Electrical Equipment 34.0
Beverages 30.0
Mining 26.5
Software & Computer Services 26.4
Personal Goods 23.6
Industrial Engineering 21.8
Financial Services 19.1
Real Estate Investment & Services 18.5
Nonlife Insurance 17.1
Travel & Leisure 16.6
Household Goods & Home Construction 16.2
Forestry & Paper 15.9
General Industrials 15.5
Chemicals 15.0
Mobile Telecommunications 14.5
Equity Investment Instruments 14.1
Support Services 13.9
Life Insurance 13.3
Banks 11.6
Industrial Transportation 9.2
Real Estate Investment Trusts 8.7
Oil & Gas Producers 6.2
Food & Drug Retailers 5.8
Aerospace & Defense 5.3
Food Producers 3.4
Health Care Equipment & Services 3.4
Tobacco 3.2
General Retailers -1.8
Media -3.7
Automobiles & Parts -4.0
Construction & Materials -4.2
Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology -4.7
Gas, Water & Multiutilities -14.5
Electricity -16.2
Oil Equipment, Services & Distribution -21.1
Fixed Line Telecommunications -24.9

2017 2H

Sector index returns for July – December 2017

UK sector indices - 2017 2H returns

2017 4Q

Sector index returns for October – December 2017

UK sector indices - 2017 4Q returns

 

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UK equity indices returns 2017: Y, 2H, 4Q

The following charts plot the performance of UK equity indices in 2017 for the whole year, second half and fourth quarter.

2017 FY

Index returns for January – December 2017

UK equity indices 2017

The data for the chart is given in the following table.

Index Rtn(%)
FTSE AIM 100 32.9
FTSE AIM All-Share 24.3
FTSE Fledgling 23.0
FTSE 250 14.7
FTSE SmallCap 14.6
FTSE All-Share – Total Return 13.2
FTSE 100 Index – Total Return 12.0
FTSE All-Share 9.1
FTSE 350 8.8
FTSE4Good UK 8.2
FTSE TechMARK Focus Index 7.8
FTSE 100 7.6
FTSE4Good UK 50 6.7
FTSE TechMARK All Share 5.3
FTSE UK Dividend Plus 1.6

2017 2H

Index returns for July – December 2017

UK equity indices 2017 2H

The data for the chart is given in the following table.

Index Rtn(%)
FTSE AIM 100 11.6
FTSE Fledgling 9.5
FTSE AIM All-Share 8.7
FTSE All-Share – Total Return 7.3
FTSE 250 7.2
FTSE 100 Index – Total Return 6.9
FTSE All-Share 5.6
FTSE SmallCap 5.6
FTSE 350 5.5
FTSE4Good UK 5.4
FTSE 100 5.1
FTSE4Good UK 50 4.5
FTSE TechMARK Focus Index 3.9
FTSE TechMARK All Share 1.2
FTSE UK Dividend Plus -0.3

2017 4Q

Index returns for October – December 2017

UK equity index returns 2017 4Q

The data for the chart is given in the following table.

Index TIDM Rtn(%)
FTSE AIM 100 5.8
FTSE All-Share – Total Return 5.1
FTSE 100 Index – Total Return 5.0
FTSE Fledgling 4.6
FTSE AIM All-Share 4.5
FTSE All-Share 4.3
FTSE 250 4.3
FTSE 350 4.3
FTSE 100 4.3
FTSE4Good UK 4.1
FTSE4Good UK 50 3.8
FTSE SmallCap 3.2
FTSE UK Dividend Plus 2.6
FTSE TechMARK Focus Index 2.2
FTSE TechMARK All Share 1.8

 

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Trading around Christmas and New Year

Does the equity market display any particular pattern in the days around Christmas and New Year?

Mean returns

The following chart plots the average daily returns of the FTSE 100 Index for nine days around Christmas and New Year for the periods 1984-2017 and also 2000-2017.

The nine 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 year.

For example, since 1984 the average return of the index on the day before Christmas has been 0.24%

FTSE 100 average daily returns around Christmas and New Year [1984-2017]

Observations

  1. Market strength increases to the fourth day (the trading day immediately after Christmas). Since 1984 the fourth day has been the strongest day of the whole period, with an average daily return of 0.49% (albeit the volatility of returns on this day is high).
  2. Generally the profile of returns for the shorter time range (2000-2017) is similar to that for the whole period from 1984. The one significant difference is that since 2000 the strongest day of the period has been the first trading day of the new year. The new year generally starts strongly on the first day, with performance trailing off the following two days.
  3. The weakest day in the period is the third day of the New Year, followed by the last trading day of the year.

Let’s now see if the pattern of positive returns confirms the above findings.

Positive returns

The following chart plots the proportion of daily returns for the FTSE 100 Index that were positive on the nine days around Christmas and New for the period 1984-2017.

For example, for 84% of the years since 1984 the returns on the day after Christmas were positive.

FTSE 100 positive daily returns around Christmas and New Year [1984-2017]

The profile of behaviour demonstrated by the positive returns is similar to that for the mean returns above.

So, how did equities perform last year around Christmas compared to the average behaviour seen above?

Last year

The following chart replicates the first chart above with the average day returns for the period 2000-2017, and also plots the actual day returns for the nine days around Christmas in 2016.

FTSE 100 Index daily returns around Christmas and New Year

As can be seen, the actual returns last year roughly followed the average pattern since 2000: the strongest days were the days after Christmas and New Year, with performance quickly trailing off after New Year.


Almanac cover - 2018 (small 2)

The above is an extract from the newly published UK Stock Market Almanac 2018.

Order your copy now!

 

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FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 Quarterly Review – December 2017

After market close on 29 November 2017 FTSE Russell confirmed the following changes to the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 indices. The changes will be implemented at the close Friday, 15 December 2017 and take effect from the start of trading on Monday, 18 December 2017.

FTSE 100

Joining: Smith (DS) [SMDS], Just Eat [JE.], Halma [HLMA]

Leaving: ConvaTec Group [CTEC], Merlin Entertainments [MERL], Babcock International Group [BAB]

FTSE 250

Joining: BCA Marketplace [BCA], F&C Global Smaller Companies [FCS], Purecircle [PURE], RHI Magnesita [RHIM], TI Fluid Systems [TIFS]

Leaving: Electra Private Equity [ELTA], Nostrum Oil & Gas [NOG], PayPoint [PAY], P2P Global Investments [P2P], Restaurant Group [RTN]

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The Stock Market in December

Since 1970 December and April have been the best two months of the year for shares. Since that year the FTSE All-Share Index has risen in December in 74% of all years and the average month return has been 2.1%. In addition, the volatility of December returns is significantly less than any other month.

As can be seen in the accompanying chart the market has only fallen in December in six years since 1984. But two of those negative-return Decembers were very recent: in 2014 and 2015. Which might have led one to wonder if the stellar record of December for shares was ending. However, last year, in 2016, the strength of the market in December reasserted itself when the FTSE All-Share Index rose 4.9% in the month.

Monthly returns of FTSE All Share Index - December (1984-2016)

However, the solid performance of the market in December is only part of a wider trend, namely that from the end of October shares tend to be strong through to the end of the year. This is a result of the Sell in May effect (aka Halloween effect), where equities are relatively strong over the six-month period November – April. So, the market does have a fair following wind at this time of the year, and then in December shares often become super-charged.

The average December

In an average December, shares have in fact tended to be weak in the first couple of weeks of the month, but then around the tenth trading day shares charge upwards. The last two weeks of December is the strongest two-week period of the whole year (and is often referred to as the Santa Rally), and the three days with the highest average daily returns in the year all occur in this two-week period.

Dividends

While December has been a good month for capital gains, it’s the worst month for income investors with only five FTSE 100 companies paying interim or final dividend payments in the month.

Sectors

The FTSE 350 sectors that have tended to be strong in December are: Electronic & Electrical Equipment, Construction & Materials, and Media; while the weak sectors are: Banks, General Retailers, and Fixed Line Telecommunications.

Diary

Dates to watch this month are: 5 Dec ­ FTSE index quarterly reviews announced, 7 Dec – US Nonfarm payroll report, 19 Dec – FOMC announcement on interest rates, 20 Dec – MPC interest rate announcement, 21 Dec – Triple Witching. And note that the London Stock Exchange will close early at 12h30 on the 22nd and will be closed all day on the 25th and 26th.


Article first appeared in Money Observer

Further articles on the market in December.

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