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“I’ve been imitated so well I’ve heard people copy my mistakes.” – Jimi Hendrix

Morning stock market summary

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There are just 24 trading days left in the year, but as we head into the home stretch of trading for the year, it’s hard to imagine a quieter start to the week of trading as there is very little in the way of corporate or economic news to speak of this morning.  The only economic report on the calendar today is New Home Sales at 10 AM, but as the week progresses, the pace of reports will pick up steam. One change though is that even as Friday is the first Friday of December, because of where the reference week for November falls on the calendar, the monthly Non-Farm Payrolls report won’t be released until the following Friday (12/8).  Outside of the US, it’s also been relatively quiet, but the tone is generally to the downside with modest losses across the board.

November and December have historically been one of the stronger times of year for the market, so as the calendar transitions from the Thanksgiving to Christmas/New Year’s holiday seasons, this morning we looked at market seasonality in the first full week of trading after Thanksgiving. This is usually (although not always) a time of year that includes the last days of November and the first day(s) of December.

The chart below shows the performance of the S&P 500 from the close on the Friday after Thanksgiving through the close on the following Friday. For all years since 1945, the S&P 500’s median gain during the post-Thanksgiving week has been a modest gain of 0.19% with positive returns 55% of the time; that’s slightly weaker than the 0.24% median gain for all five trading day periods since 1945.  In years when the S&P 500 was already up at least 15% YTD, the median gain was an even weaker 0.16%. Over the long term, it appears as though bulls come out of the Thanksgiving holiday season a little hungover and sluggish following all the festivities.

While the period after Thanksgiving has been weak for the entire post-WWII period, as you can see in the chart, performance in more recent history has been stronger.  In the last twenty years, for example, the S&P 500’s median gain during the current trading week has been 0.44% with positive returns 70% of the time.

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