Earlier today, we sent out our Chart of the Day highlighting seasonal trends for the month of September. Breaking this down further, below we break down some seasonal trends for the first trading day of September relative to all other months over the last 50 years (since 1972). During this span, the first trading day of September has been weaker than the first trading day of any other month with the S&P 500 averaging a decline of 0.11%. However, the positivity rate is above 50% and the median performance is a gain of 0.05%, and much of the negativity comes after the index posts a gain in August.
Over the last 50 years, September has averaged a loss of 0.32% (median: -0.07%) on the first trading day of September following gains in August, trading lower 54% of the time. On an average basis, September has been the worst first trading day of the month following gains in the prior month, but when it comes to both median and positivity rates, August is worse. On the other hand, when August resulted in losses for the S&P 500, September has averaged a gain of 0.16% on the first trading day of September, posting gains 59% of the time. Click here to learn more about Bespoke’s premium stock market research service.
The chart below is included to help you visualize the comparative performance of the first trading day in September relative to other months. Perhaps one of the more surprising aspects of this chart is that fact that despite being known as a positive month, positivity rates on the first trading day of December have been weak. Along with August, it is the only month where the first trading day of the month has been down more often than it has been up regardless of whether the prior month was up or down.
On Friday, the S&P 500 rallied 1.7% to round off the fourth straight week of gains. Relative to the mid-June lows, the index has rallied 16.7%, a notable move as YTD weakness subsides (at least for now). With Friday’s move, the S&P 500 also closed more than two standard deviations above its 50-day moving average for the first time since 12/29/21, marking the end of a 155-day trading day streak in which the index did not close at ‘extreme’ overbought levels.
A streak of this length had not been reached since 2015, and the longest streak since WWII ended in 2003 (768 trading days). All in all, there have now been 27 streaks since WWII where the S&P 500 went at least six months without registering a close in ‘extreme’ overbought territory. Click here to start a two-week trial to Bespoke Premium and receive our paid content in real-time.
For investors who are long equities, it’s hard not to like the way stocks have performed in recent weeks. However, with the market reaching overbought levels after a sharp rally, fears of a pullback increase as moves of this magnitude may be unsustainable. Historically speaking, median returns following the end of prior streaks without an ‘extreme’ overbought reading that lasted at least six months have, in aggregate, been followed by decent returns. For every time period we looked at (next day, next week, one month, three months, and six months), median returns were positive and better than the historical average for all comparable time periods since WWII. Over the next three months, for example, the S&P 500’s median performance was a gain of 4.4% which is 1.8 percentage points better than the historical average for all six-month periods. From a historical perspective at least, when equities reach ‘extreme’ overbought levels after a prolonged period without a similar reading, fears of an imminent reversal were typically unwarranted.
Positivity rates tend to be superior as well, apart from one month forward. Over the next week (which would be through the end of the week in this case), the S&P 500 has performed positively 77% of the time, which is 20 percentage points higher than that of all periods. Over the next three and six months, the positivity rate has been 73%, which is also quite positive. Click here to start a two-week trial to Bespoke Premium and receive our paid content in real-time.
To paint the full picture, the maximum drawdown following these occurrences was in November of 1981, when the S&P 500 fell by 10.8% over the next three months and 11.6% over the following six months. On the flip side, the best performance occurred following the January of 1975 occurrence, when the index went on to gain 14.4% and 17.7% over the next three and six months, respectively. Over the following month, the data has a range of -7.1% to +6.6%. Click here to start a two-week trial to Bespoke Premium and receive our paid content in real time.
On Friday, the S&P 500 closed over 140 basis points higher on the back of favorable earnings from Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Chevron (CVX) and Exxon (XOM). This was the third straight day in which the S&P 500 gained at least one percent, allowing bulls to breathe a sigh of relief after a tough start to the year. These moves came even as a second consecutive quarter of negative real GDP growth was reported and the Fed hikes rates by 75 basis points.
Friday’s move helped the S&P 500 post its best July in the post-WWII era, finishing with a gain of 9.2%. Although the index is still close to 14% off of its early January highs, the market looks more inviting than it did at the beginning of the month, when the YTD declines were above 20%. As investors, we could just give ourselves high fives for the month, but it’s vital to remain forward-looking. Following July gains of 5%+, the S&P 500 has averaged a gain of 0.6% in August (median: +1.4%), performing positively 60 percent of the time. Between the start of August and the end of the calendar year, the index has averaged a gain of 8.0% (median: +10.0%), gaining 80% of the time. Over the following twelve months (starting in August), the index has averaged an impressive gain of 15.6% (median: +15.4%), rallying 87% of the time. Based on past history, bull runs in July tend to bode well for the market for both the rest of the year and over the following twelve months. Click here to learn more about Bespoke’s premium stock market research service.
2022 has seen the bulls get slugged with a number of heavy blows. The S&P 500 has already experienced 14 separate one-day declines of 2% or more this year. That’s nine more than the entire total for 2021!
While there are still another six months left in the year, only ten other years have seen as many or more 2% daily declines in their entirety! At the current pace, 2022 would see 28 daily declines of 2%+, which would rank as tied with 2009 for the third most in the post-WWII period trailing only 2002 (29) and 2008 (41). Not great company. If 2021 was the year where nothing could go wrong for investors, 2022 has been the year where nothing is going right. Click here to learn more about Bespoke’s premium stock market research service.