Some of you may remember the old saying on the Street, “Buy Rosh Hashanah, Sell Yom Kippur.” Though it had a good record at one time, it stopped working in the middle of the last century. It still gets tossed around every autumn when the “high holidays” are on the minds of traders as many of their Jewish colleagues take off to observe the Jewish New Year and Day of Atonement.
The basis for the new pattern is that with many traders and investors busy with religious observance and family, positions are closed out and volume fades creating a buying vacuum. Holiday seasonality around official market holidays is something we pay close attention to (page 88 Stock Trader’s Almanac). Actual stats on the most observed Hebrew holidays have been compiled in the table here.
We present the data back to 1971 and when the holiday falls on a weekend the prior market close is used. It’s no coincidence that Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur fall in September and/or October, two dangerous and opportune months. We then took it a step further and calculated the return from Yom Kippur to Passover, which conveniently occurs in March or April, right near the end of our “Best Six Months” Tactical Switching strategy.
Perhaps it’s Talmudic wisdom but, selling stocks before the eight-day span of the high holidays has avoided many declines, especially during uncertain times. While being long Yom Kippur to Passover has produced more than twice as many advances, averaging gains of 7.0%. It often pays to be a contrarian when old bromides are tossed around, buying instead of selling Yom Kippur – and selling Passover.
Read this article in its original format at AlmanacTrader.com
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