Investment Opportunities

Can “Sell in May and Go Away” Beat the COVID-19 Bear?

Editor’s Note: Today, organizations around the world are celebrating #GivingTuesdayNow – a day of giving that hopes to rise to the needs of communities that are fighting COVID-19.

On this special day, Wealthy Retirement‘s publisher, The Oxford Club, would like to invite you to join us in protecting one of the world’s most vulnerable communities from the effects of the deadly virus.

You may have heard us mention The Roberto Clemente Health Clinic as an organization that’s near and dear to our hearts. This clinic supports Nicaragua’s southwestern coastal communities with medical care, education and outreach. And today, it needs our help more than ever.

Today, The Oxford Club will match any donations to the Clinic up to $50,000. So please consider supporting the health and safety of our neighbors in Nicaragua by clicking here. Every bit helps.

You can also click here to learn more about the Clinic.

– Mable Buchanan, Assistant Managing Editor


On March 20, I made a bold prediction.

I said that the nauseating volatility we were then experiencing was very close to ending.

If you will recall, at that point we were seeing double-digit stock market swings in both directions on a daily basis.

It was absurd… From March 9 to March 16, we experienced three of the 21 biggest percentage declines in stock market history.
Loan Loss Previsions

You and I may never experience a seven-day market stretch of volatility like that again.

I made my call for volatility subsiding on March 20, and I nailed it. The CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX, is the market’s way of measuring volatility – and it started coming down almost immediately after I wrote to you.
Loan Loss PrevisionsAfter hitting all-time highs in the middle of March, the VIX dropped by half. The shock of COVID-19 hit us hard in March, and then we accepted the reality of the situation.

Don’t worry, I don’t have a swollen head over making that call…

It was luck combined with the help of historical perspective that made it pretty clear that what we were going through in March likely wouldn’t last for long.

What Is History Telling Us Now?

This time, history shows that it generally doesn’t pay well to get exceedingly bullish in May.
Loan Loss Previsions

In fact, the six-month period from May 1 to October 31 is historically the worst six months for the stock market. The old slogan “Sell in May and go away” isn’t just a good rhyme – it also has some data supporting it.

Or does it?

While yes, the six months following May are on average historically the worst six months for the year, the average movement of the S&P 500 during that time is still up – not down.

Historically, May 1 to October 31 sees the market go up 1.5%, and the market increases 64.3% of the time over that stretch.

So while being invested over these six months doesn’t typically make investors rich, being up 1.5% is still better than sitting on the sidelines and earning nothing.

That said, this is no normal May. We have the highest level of unemployment in a generation and no idea if COVID-19 is going to come back at us with another wave.

Now What?

Given all of that, what is my prediction (or more accurately, my educated guess) for where we go next?

As I am very fond of telling my two daughters, “I don’t know.”

Nobody knows everything, and goodness knows honesty is refreshing in this day and age.

This time, the appropriate response is “I don’t know.”

There are so many things that could happen:

1. Finding a convincing treatment could send the market soaring.

2. Another big outbreak in a major city could cause the market to plummet.

3. A major breakthrough on a vaccine could be a stock market game changer.

4. Consumers refusing to open their wallets even after reopening could be a big market downer.

There are just too many major variables that could influence the market one way or the other.

While I’m not willing to pretend that I know what the market is going to do, what I would say is this…

Over the long term, the stock market in the United States goes in one direction, and that direction is up. You want to be invested when the light at the other end of the COVID-19 tunnel arrives.

If you try to time when that will happen (and avoid a few bad months) by keeping out of the market, you might just miss it.

Good investing,

Jody


About

Jody Chudley is a Contributing Analyst to Wealthy Retirement. He is a qualified accountant with two decades of experience in the international banking and hedge fund industries as a financial analyst.
His background in finance has made him an expert in deciphering financial statements and uncovering deep value and income opportunities. He has written for various websites and financial magazines with a focus on the resource sector and contrarian investment opportunities.

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