Markets are closed at the end of this week for Good Friday, as many get ready to celebrate Easter over the weekend. So, it’s a good time to see how stocks have tended to perform around the holiday. Also, I found an interesting stat on what Easter means for the rest of the year, and finally, I’ll list the best and worst stocks in the week following Easter.
The table below looks at how the S&P 500 Index (SPX) has performed in the days around Easter over the past 30 years. The day before Easter is a good day for stocks, but it is sandwiched between two underperforming days. Two days before the holiday (today) the index averages a loss of 0.21% and positive just 40% of the time. The day before Easter has been bullish over the past 30 years, averaging a gain of 0.42% and positive 63% of the time. Compare that to a typical day for the index of a gain of 0.04% and positive 54% of the time.
The day after Easter has tended to give back some of those pre-Easter gains. Over the past 30 years, the Monday after Easter has averaged a loss of 0.14% and positive only 47% of the time. Historically, it has been wise to avoid stock exposure over the weekend if you can.
I thought the data below was interesting. It suggests that the pre-Easter return in a year is a precursor for what to expect the rest of the year. In the past 30 years, there have been five times when the S&P 500 was positive by double-digits through Easter. The index was positive for the rest of the year every time, averaging a gain of 12.5%. When the S&P 500 has been positive by less than 10%, then stocks were still positive an impressive 86% of the time the rest of the year, averaging a return of 10.5%. When the index has been negative through Easter, the rest of the year averages further losses of 1.9%, with less than half of the returns positive. With the S&P 500 positive year-to-date by well over 10%, hopefully this tendency continues.
Why would certain stocks tend to outperform or underperform in the week after Easter? I really can’t think of a reason that makes sense other than randomness, but I ran the numbers anyway. Looking at S&P 500 stocks over the past 10 years, the first table below shows the stocks that have done the best in the week after Easter. The second table shows stocks that have performed the worst after Easter.
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