Why Bulls Should Behold the Ides of March

The SPX, DJIA, and COMP tend to outperform the week of March 11-18

by Andrea Kramer

Published on Mar 15, 2016 at 2:30 PM
Updated on Jun 24, 2020 at 10:16 AM

Not only is spring the best time to own stocks -- this week has been exceptionally positive for bulls. Since 1972, the week of March 11-18 has been the third strongest week of the year for the S&P 500 Index (SPX), outpaced by only the week before Thanksgiving and the week before Christmas, according to Schaeffer's Quantitative Analyst Chris Prybal. What's more, it's also a historically great time to own blue chips and tech stocks, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and Nasdaq Composite (COMP) also tend to outperform.

Since 1928, the S&P has generated an average return of 0.6% in the week of March 11-18, and has been positive 62.5% of the time, notes Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White. The S&P's anytime weekly return since 1928 is just 0.1%, on average, with the index positive 56.1% of the time.

Narrowing in on the past 55 years is more supportive of the bullish case. Since 1950, the SPX has averaged a return of 0.7% in the week of March 11-18, and has been positive 63.6% of the time. That handily surpasses the broad-market barometer's anytime weekly return of 0.2%, on average, with a positive rate of 56.2%. (To see which SPX stocks tend to fare best in March, click here.)

160315SPX


Meanwhile, the Dow has enjoyed an average return of 0.5% this week, going back to 1900, and has been positive 60.3% of the time. The Dow's anytime weekly returns since 1900 are 0.1%, on average, with a 55.3% positive rate.

Again, when we hone in on 1950 and beyond, it's even more bullish. The blue-chip index has generated a healthy return of 0.7%, on average, during the week of March 11-18, and has been positive 63.6% of the time. In other weeks, the Dow has averaged a return of just 0.1%, and was positive 55.6% of the time.

160315Dow

Finally, the tech-rich Nasdaq has gained 0.4%, on average, this week -- more than twice its average anytime return of 0.2%. The COMP has ended the week of March 11-18 in the black 59.1% of the time, compared to 57% in other weeks.

160315COMP

So far this week, the major indexes are bucking that trend, but we all know how quickly things can change after Fed Chair Janet Yellen steps up to the podium. At last check, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) is sitting on a week-to-date loss of 0.4%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is down 0.1%, and the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) is on pace for a weekly drop of 0.4%.

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