Tempestuous March markets tend to drive prices up early in the month and batter stocks at month end. Julius Caesar failed to heed the famous warning to “beware the Ides of March” but investors have been served well when they have. Stock prices have a propensity to decline, sometimes rather precipitously, during the latter days of the month.
March is the end of the first quarter, which brings with it Triple Witching and an abundance of portfolio maneuvers from The Street. March Triple-Witching Weeks have been quite bullish in recent years, DJIA up 9 of the last 11. But the week after is the exact opposite, DJIA down 19 of the last 29 years—and frequently down sharply for an average drop of 0.5%. Notable gains during the week after for DJIA of 4.9% in 2000, 3.1% in 2007, 6.8% in 2009, and 3.1% in 2011 are the rare exceptions to this historically poor performing timeframe.
Normally a decent performing market month, post-election year payments to the Piper take a toll on March as average gains are trimmed significantly. In post-election years March ranks: 5th worst for DJIA and Russell 1000; NASDAQ is 4th worst while S&P 500 and Russell 2000 are the best at 6th worst. In 11 post-election years since 1973, NASDAQ has advanced just five times, most recently in 2013 (+3.4%).
Subscribers to Almanac Investor get a full run down of seasonal tendencies that occur throughout each month of the year in an easy-to-read calendar graphic with important economic release dates highlighted, Daily Market Probability Index bullish and bearish days, market trends around options expiration and holidays. In addition, the Monthly Vital Statistics Table combines stats for the Dow, S&P 500, NASDAQ, Russell 1000 and Russell 2000 and puts them all in a single location available at the click of a mouse.