We have hit “Sell in May” season, which has not been made any better by recent declines. That’s the time each year when Wall Street Strategists and financial media ponder what exactly investors should do during the next six months, which, for stock market performance, has been typically lackluster.
The latest argument comes from LPL Chief Market Strategist Ryan Detrick, who notes that the historically weak period hasn’t actually been so bad of late. “Maybe we should call it ‘Sell in June,” he says, as “May has been really strong lately (but then again, so had April).”
Indeed, across the past nine Mays, the S&P 500 Index has been up eight times for an overall average gain of 0.9%, an average that’s weighted down by a 6.6% decline in 2019. Similarly, the six-month period between May and October has only been down once over the past 10 years (in 2015, by a mere 0.3%), averaging a respectable 5.7% increase. That’s all the more reason for us to stick with our advice: Most buy and hold investors are better off holding through “Sell in May” and leaving the market timing to professionals who are paid to squeeze out every basis point of performance they can.
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