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“I put my heart and soul into my work, and I have lost my mind in the process.” – Vincent van Gogh
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It’s the last trading day before Christmas, but a lot of people who make their living in the financial markets are probably feeling a little like van Gogh after this year. Hopefully, they all handle it better than the artist, though, and keep all of their appendages intact. We have another busy day of economic data in-store with Personal Income, Personal Spending, Michigan Confidence, and New Home Sales among the reports on the calendar. Equity futures are firmly in positive territory, crude oil is pushing $80 per barrel, and yields are higher with the 10-year yield trading back above 3.7%.
The last week of the year is considered a positive one for equities, but how positive has it been? Not as strong as you might think. Since 1980, the S&P 500’s average gain during the last week of December has been a gain of 0.41% with positive returns 57% of the time. Surprisingly, there have only been two other years during that span where the S&P 500 was down more than 15% YTD heading into the last week of the year (this year will be the third). In those two years, performance in the final week was mixed. In 2002, the S&P 500 went on to fall another 1.4% in the last week of the year; in 2008, the S&P 500 rallied 4.0%. So, just because the market is down a lot heading into the final week doesn’t necessarily mean it will bounce back or continue falling to close out the year.
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