Stock Trader's Almanac

03/07/2017 7:00 am EST

Focus: STRATEGIES

Jeffrey Hirsch

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

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%. 

Normally a decent performing market month, post-election year payments to the Piper take a toll on March as average gains are trimmed significantly.

After St. Patrick’s Day, bullish days virtually disappear. Only the 24th is bullish while March 21, 23 and 28 are bearish. It is this part of the month that has been prone to declines as end-of-quarter portfolio restructuring can trigger broad weakness.

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