Sell in May (2017)

An update on the Sell in May Effect (also called the Six-Month Effect, or Halloween Effect in the US).

In the six months Nov 2016 to Apr 2017 (Winter period) the FTSE All-Share Index rose 5.2%. Previously, the Index had risen 10.1% over May 2016 to Oct 2016 (Summer period).

The out-performance of the Winter market over the Summer market was therefore -4.9 percentage points, which does not support the Sell in May Effect.

The following chart shows the out-performance of the FTSE All-Share Index in the Winter period over the previous Summer period since 1982.

Outperformance of winter over previous summer market [1982-2017]

In the 17 years since 2000 the Winter market has outperformed the previous Summer market 11 times, with an average out-performance of 4.6 percentage points.

As can be seen in the above chart, while in the longer-term the Sell in May effect is strong, in recent years it has become less reliable.

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Sell in May (2017)

It’s sell in May time again! 

And time for many articles appearing on whether to actually sell in May or not. So, should one sell?

The issue is a little tricky. It is certainly the case that equities over the 6-month period May to October tend to under-perform the November to April period. (We have covered this in many previous posts.)

However, just because the market under-performs May-October doesn’t necessarily mean that the market experiences negative returns over these summer months.

The following chart plots the 6-month May to October returns for the FTSE All-Share Index since 1982.

Market returns May to October [1982-2016]

As can be seen, since 1982 the market has actually risen more often than it has fallen over the May to October period –  equities have had positive returns in 20 of the past 35 years. The market has risen in ten of the last 14 years. And last year, 2016, the FTSE All-Share increased 10.1% May to October.

So, the case is not necessarily looking strong to sell in May. Especially, if one adds in the argument that being out of the market an investor will forego any dividend payments over the May-October period (and at a time when interest rates are very low).

An argument in favour of selling might be that, although the market often sees positive returns in the period, when the market does fall, the falls tend to be quite large. So, since 2000, the average return May-Oct has been -1.1%. Admittedly, this is quite heavily influenced by the fall in 2008, which might be regarded as something of an anomaly. But over the longer periods, the average returns are negative as well (-0.1% from 1982, and -1.0% from 1972).

In conclusion, whether to sell in May should likely depend on an individual’s attitude to risk and their transaction costs.


Further articles on sell in May.

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UK equity indices returns 2017 1Q

The following chart plots the performance of UK equity indices in the first quarter 2017.

UK equity index returns 2017 1Q

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

Index TIDM Rtn(%)
FTSE AIM 100 11.9
FTSE AIM All-Share 10.1
FTSE Fledgling 8.3
FTSE SmallCap 5.6
FTSE 250 4.9
FTSE All-Share – Total Return 4.0
FTSE 100 Index – Total Return 3.7
FTSE UK Dividend Plus 3.3
FTSE All-Share 3.0
FTSE 350 2.9
FTSE 100 2.5
FTSE TechMARK All Share 2.3
FTSE TechMARK Focus Index 2.2
FTSE4Good UK 2.1
FTSE4Good UK 50 1.8

 

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100 years of the FTSE All-Share Index since 1917

The following chart plots the annual returns of the FTSE All-Share Index for the 100 years from 1917 to 2016.

One Hundred Years of the FTSE All-Share Index [1917-2016]

The final bar in the chart plots the annual return for the index in 2016 (+12.3%). The Y-axis is truncated at +/-50% for legibility. In two years the returns were outside this bound: in 1974 the index fell 55%, and in 1975 the index rose 136%.

Over the 100 years since 1917 the average annual return for the index has been +7.0%.

The standard deviation has been 21.5, which means that for 66% of the years the return was between -14.5% and +28.5%.

The index saw positive returns in 65 of the 100 years.

The following chart is similar to the above, but ranks the returns in order of size.

One Hundred Years of the FTSE All-Share Index - ranked by return [1917-2016]

The return of 12.3% in 2016 ranks 35th in order of annual returns for the index in the last 100 years.

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UK equity indices returns 2016 3Q & YTD

2016 3Q

The following chart plots the performance of UK equity indices in the third quarter 2016.

UK equity index returns 2016 3Q

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

Index Rtn(%)
FTSE AIM 100 16.3
FTSE AIM All-Share 15.7
FTSE Fledgling 12.8
FTSE TechMARK Focus Index 12.0
FTSE SmallCap 11.3
FTSE 250 9.8
FTSE TechMARK All Share 8.4
FTSE All-Share – Total Return 7.8
FTSE 100 Index – Total Return 7.1
FTSE All-Share 6.8
FTSE 350 6.7
FTSE4Good UK 6.7
FTSE4Good UK 50 6.3
FTSE 100 6.1
FTSE UK Dividend Plus 5.6

2016 3Q YTD

The following chart plots the performance of UK equity indices over the first 3 quarters of 2016.

UK equity index returns 2016 3Q YTD

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

Index Rtn(%)
FTSE AIM 100 16.3
FTSE AIM All-Share 15.7
FTSE Fledgling 12.8
FTSE TechMARK Focus Index 12.0
FTSE SmallCap 11.3
FTSE 250 9.8
FTSE TechMARK All Share 8.4
FTSE All-Share – Total Return 7.8
FTSE 100 Index – Total Return 7.1
FTSE All-Share 6.8
FTSE 350 6.7
FTSE4Good UK 6.7
FTSE4Good UK 50 6.3
FTSE 100 6.1
FTSE UK Dividend Plus 5.6

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UK equity indices returns 2016 2Q & 1H

2016 2Q

The following chart plots the performance of UK equity indices in the second quarter 2016.

UK equity index returns 2016 2Q

 

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

Index Rtn(%)
FTSE 100 Index – Total Return 6.5
FTSE 100 5.3
FTSE4Good UK 50 5.0
FTSE All-Share – Total Return 4.7
FTSE 350 3.7
FTSE All-Share 3.5
FTSE4Good UK 3.5
FTSE TechMARK All Share 2.9
FTSE AIM 100 1.2
FTSE TechMARK Focus Index 1.0
FTSE AIM All-Share -0.4
FTSE UK Dividend Plus -1.5
FTSE SmallCap -1.6
FTSE Fledgling -2.2
FTSE 250 -3.9

 2016 1H

The following chart plots the performance of UK equity indices in the first half 2016.

UK equity indices 2016 1H

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

Index Rtn(%)
FTSE 100 Index – Total Return 6.62
FTSE All-Share – Total Return 4.27
FTSE 100 4.2
FTSE 350 2.27
FTSE All-Share 2.07
FTSE4Good UK 50 1.99
FTSE4Good UK 0.84
FTSE TechMARK All Share -1.17
FTSE UK Dividend Plus -2.32
FTSE TechMARK Focus Index -2.85
FTSE Fledgling -3.41
FTSE SmallCap -3.52
FTSE AIM 100 -4.09
FTSE AIM All-Share -4.19
FTSE 250 -6.65

 

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UK equity indices returns 2016 1Q

The following chart plots the performance of UK equity indices in the first quarter 2016.

UK equity indices 2016 1Q
The data for the chart is given in the following table.

Index Rtn(%)
FTSE 100 Index – Total Return 0.1
FTSE All-Share – Total Return -0.4
FTSE UK Dividend Plus -0.9
FTSE 100 -1.1
FTSE Fledgling -1.2
FTSE 350 -1.4
FTSE All-Share -1.4
FTSE SmallCap -2.0
FTSE4Good UK -2.6
FTSE4Good UK 50 -2.9
FTSE 250 -2.9
FTSE AIM All-Share -3.8
FTSE TechMARK Focus Index -3.8
FTSE TechMARK All Share -4.0
FTSE AIM 100 -5.2

 

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UK equity indices performance – 2015: Y, 2H, 4Q

The following charts plot the performance of UK equity indices in 2015 for the whole year, second half and fourth quarter.

Full year

Index returns for January – December 2015

UK equity indices 2015

Second half

Index returns for July – December 2015

UK equity indices 2015 2H

Fourth quarter

Index returns for October – December 2015

UK equity indices 2015 4Q

 

Consolidated

The above three time periods (1Y, 2H, 4Q) are consolidated into the one chart below.

UK equity indices in 2015 (4Q, 2H, Y)

The following table summarises the data for the chart.

Index TIDM 2015 4Q 2015 2H 2015 Y
FTSE 100 3.0 -4.3 -4.9
FTSE 100 Index – Total Return 3.7 -2.6 -1.3
FTSE 250 4.5 -0.6 8.4
FTSE 350 3.2 -3.6 -2.8
FTSE AIM 100 6.1 4.2 14.4
FTSE AIM All-Share 1.9 -2.2 5.2
FTSE All-Share 3.3 -3.4 -2.4
FTSE All-Share – Total Return 4.0 -1.9 1.1
FTSE Fledgling 0.4 -2.6 12.7
FTSE SmallCap 3.5 -0.8 6.2
FTSE TechMARK All Share 8.1 5.6 9.9
FTSE TechMARK Focus Index 8.5 6.5 14.4
FTSE UK Dividend Plus -1.0 -7.3 -3.3
FTSE4Good UK 3.1 -3.0 -2.3
FTSE4Good UK 50 2.5 -4.3 -5.3

 

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Will 2015 be the first 5th year of decade to end down since 1945?

Since 1875 the UK market has seen negative annual returns only twice in the fifth year of the decade. As can be seen in the accompanying chart, since 1875 the down years were 1915 and 1945 (and 1945 was down only 0.6%).

Annual returns for 5th year of decade [1801-2015]

As of the close 24th December the FTSE All-Share index was at 3449.5, (2.4% below its 2014 close of 3532.7).

The market has three days to climb above 3532.7 and end the year in positive territory.

Update

The answer to the heading is: yes. The FTSE All-Share index ended 2015 at 3447.46: down 2.41% on the year.

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