Q4 Rally Is Real. Don’t Let 2018 Spook You

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Understandably folks are apprehensive about the perennial fourth quarter rally this year after the debacle that culminated in the Christmas Eve Crumble in 2018. But the history is clear. The fourth quarter is the best quarter of the year going back to 1949, except for NASDAQ where Q1 leads Q4 by 4.5% to 4.0%, since 1971.

Historically, the “Sweet Spot” of the 4-Year Election Cycle is the three-quarter span from Q4 Midterm Year through Q2 Pre-Election Year, averaging a gain of 19.3% for DJIA and 20.0% for S&P 500 since 1949 and 29.3% for NASDAQ since 1971. Conversely the weakest two-quarter span is Q2-Q3 of the Midterm Year, averaging a loss of -1.2% for DJIA and -1.5% for S&P 500 since 1949 and -5.0% for NASDAQ since 1971.

Market action was impacted by some more powerful forces in 2018 that trumped (no pun intended) seasonality. Q2-Q3 was up 9.8% for DJIA, 10.3% for S&P and 13.9% for NASDAQ. Q4 was horrible, down -11.8% for DJIA, -14.0% for S&P and -17.5% for NASDAQ.Q1-Q2 of pre-election year, especially Q1 gained all that back.

Pre-Election year Q4 is still one of the best quarters of the 4-Year Cycle, ranked 5th, for average gains of 2.6% for DJIA and 3.2% for S&P since 1949 and 5.4% for NASDAQ. Additionally, from the Pre-Election Seasonal Pattern we updated in last Friday’s post, you can see how the market tends to make a high near yearend in the Pre-Election Year. So, save some new unexpected outside event, Q4 Market Magic is expected to impress once again this year.

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Stock Trader's Almanac (1268 Posts)

Jeffrey A. Hirsch is Editor in Chief of the Stock Trader’s Almanac. His latest book "The Little Book of Stock Market Cycles" (Wiley) was published in August 2012. As a frequent participant in the MrTopStep IM-Pro Trading Room, he shares trading insights with our other professional traders and new traders eager to experience the power of collective intelligence. Join us today and get the edge only social trading can give you.


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