Posted: 27 Nov 2020 08:23 AM PST
December is now the number three S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrials month since 1950, averaging gains of 1.5% on each index. It’s the top Russell 2000 (1979) month and third best for NASDAQ (1971) and Russell 1000 (1979). In 2018, DJIA suffered its worst December performance since 1931 and its fourth worst December going all the way back to 1901. However, the market rarely falls precipitously in December and a repeat of 2018 is not highly likely. When December is down it is usually a turning point in the market—near a top or bottom. If the market has experienced fantastic gains leading up to December, stocks can pullback in the first half of the month.
In the last seventeen election years, December’s ranking changed modestly to #2 DJIA, #5 NASDAQ, but S&P 500 remains #3. Small caps, measured by the Russell 2000, have had a field day in election-year Decembers. Since 1980, the Russell 2000 has lost ground just once in ten election years in December. The average small cap gain in all ten years is a solid 3.0%. The Russell 2000’s single loss was in 1980 when the Prime Rate was 21.5%.