March: Lamb or Lion?

“March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.”

The age-old saying refers to the weather, which can start off cold and snowy sometimes, but usually ends with warm spring days. March is known for many things, from spring training, to the NCAA tournament, to spring flowers, to consistent equity gains? That’s right, over the past 10 years, there hasn’t been a month for the S&P 500 with a higher average monthly return than March.


Here’s a chart we shared about March in our recent Weekly Economic Commentary:


Per Ryan Detrick, Senior Market Strategist, “March has been strong for the S&P 500, ranking as the fourth-best month of the year since 1950.* Adding the fact it has been the best-performing month for the past 10 years, seasonality sides with the bulls in the near term. Importantly, we don’t blindly follow seasonality, nor does it always work. Still, be aware the next two months are historically two of the strongest months for equities.”

A few other stats:

  • When the first two months of the year have been higher, March has closed higher 19 of 26 times (73.1%) and has been up an average of 1.4%.
  • The S&P 500 is set to close up four consecutive months once February is in the books. When the S&P 500 has been up four or more months heading into March, then March actually has become stronger, as since 1950, it has closed higher 11 of 13 times (84.6%) with an average return of 2.3%.
  • Looking at post-election years, March falls right near the middle as the sixth-best month, up 0.6% on average and higher 50% of the time.


* Please note: The modern design of the S&P 500 stock index was first launched in 1957. Performance back to 1950 incorporates the performance of predecessor index, the S&P 90.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. All indexes are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security.

The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted.

The S&P 500 Index is a capitalization-weighted index of 500 stocks designed to measure performance of the broad domestic economy through changes in the aggregate market value of 500 stocks representing all major industries.

Investing in stock includes numerous specific risks including: the fluctuation of dividend, loss of principal and potential illiquidity of the investment in a falling market.

This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC.

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