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“In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman.” – Margaret Thatcher

Morning stock market summary

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Equity futures are flat as a pancake this morning as investors and traders try to digest what has been some positive earnings results and lower yields along with higher oil prices as Israel gears up to launch a counterattack into Gaza and the US looks to impose harsher sanctions on Russia.

Today marks the unofficial kickoff to earnings season with the major banks and financial companies reporting, and so far, the results have been promising.  Between the reports of Blackrock (BLK), Citigroup (C), JPMorgan (JPM), PNC, and Wells Fargo (WFC), they’ve all topped EPS forecasts, and only BLK reported weaker-than-expected sales.  In terms of stock price reactions, BLK is the only one trading lower in the pre-market while all the others are trading up over 1%.  A lot can change between then and now, but the immediate first impression is positive.

On the economic calendar, Import and Export Prices will come out just as you are reading this while the University of Michigan Sentiment will be released at 10 AM.  The headline index is expected to decline modestly from last month’s reading, but a key item to watch will be inflation expectations. Lastly, with the geo-political landscape extremely uncertain heading into the weekend, it will be interesting to watch how the market trades in the hours leading up to the weekend.  How willing investors are to hold stocks into the weekend will say a lot about market sentiment.

Friday the 13th is considered the unluckiest of days, but don’t tell that to the stock market.  Since the first full year that the current iteration of the five-day trading week started in 1953, the S&P 500’s average daily change was 3.4 basis points (bps) with positive returns 53% of the time. Fridays have been much stronger with an average daily gain of 6.1 bps and positive returns 55.9% of the time.  Even the 13th day of the month has been better than average with an average gain of 5.2 bps and positive returns 53.6% of the time.  With both Fridays and the 13th being better than average, you can imagine that Friday the 13th would be better than average as well, and historically, they have been much better than average with the S&P 500 gaining an average of 14.5 bps with gains 58% of the time. That’s more than four times the average for all days!

While Friday the 13th has generally been lucky for the market, it depends on the month it falls on.  The chart below shows the median Friday the 13th change of the S&P 500 by month, and while October occurrences haven’t been the worst, they’re far from the best either.  With a median daily gain of 9 bps, October Friday the 13ths are right in the middle of the pack in a tie for 6th place amount the 12 months.  The best months have been the summer months of June, July, and August with median gains of 49 bps, 30 bps, and 21 bps, respectively.

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