Brett Arends’s ROI: Here’s the real reason the stock market is so horrid. And, yes, it’s rather spooky.

by | Oct 10, 2023 | Stock Market

Some say it’s the fear of stagflation. Some say it’s chaos on Capitol Hill. Some say it’s turmoil in the Middle East.

But we all know the real reason the stock market is so crummy, right? It’s October! Of course stocks are down! It is a bizarre, inexplicable, and yet undeniable, fact that, throughout history, Wall Street has produced almost all of its gains during the winter months of the year — from Nov. 1 to April 30. It is an even more bizarre, inexplicable and yet undeniable fact that the rest of the world’s stock markets have done the same thing. The so-called summer months, meaning the half of the year from May 1 to Halloween, have generally given you bupkis or worse.  Around the world, over the course of centuries of recorded financial history, stock-market returns have averaged four full percentage points higher from November to April than from May to October, report researchers Ben Jacobsen at Tilburg University and Cherry Yi Zhang at Nottingham University’s Business School in China. This so-called Halloween Effect seems “remarkably robust,” they concluded, after studying the financial returns of 114 different countries going back as far as they could find reliable monthly data — starting with the stock market in 1693 London.  Even more extreme: In the 65 countries for which they had extensive data both about the stock market and about short-term interest rates, it’s fair to say you would have been better off s …

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