Octoberphobia

10/07/2016 9:00 am EST

Focus: STOCKS

Jeffrey Hirsch

Editor-in-Chief, The Stock Trader's Almanac and Almanac Investor

October has a frightful history of market crashes, observes Jeffrey Hirsch, seasonal trading expert and editor of Stock traders Almanac.

Market crashes were seen in 1929, 1987, the 554-point drop on October 27, 1997, back-to-back massacres in 1978 and 1979, Friday the 13th in 1989 and the 733-point drop on October 15, 2008.

It is no wonder that the term “Octoberphobia” has been used to describe the phenomenon of major market drops occurring during the month

During the week ending October 10, 2008, Dow lost 1,874.19 points (18.2%), the worst weekly decline in our database going back to 1901, in point and percentage terms.

But October has also been a turnaround month—a “bear killer”. Twelve post-WWII bear markets have ended in October: 1946, 1957, 1960, 1962, 1966, 1974, 1987, 1990, 1998, 2001, 2002 and 2011 (S&P 500 declined 19.4%). However, eight were midterm bottoms.

This year is neither a mid-term year nor is a bear market in progress, thus October’s performance in past election years is of greater importance.

Election-year Octobers rank dead last for Dow, S&P 500 (since 1952), Russell 1000, and Russell 2000 (since 1980). NASDAQ fairs slightly better, with October being the second worst month in election years since 1972.

Eliminating gruesome 2008 from the calculation provides a moderate amount of relief, as rankings climb to mid pack.

Should a meaningful decline materialize in October it is likely to be an excellent buying opportunity, especially for any depressed technology and small-cap shares.

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By Jeffrey Hirsch, Editor of Stock traders Almanac

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