The First 100 Days For Equities

Thursday, May 25 was the 100th trading session of the year for the S&P 500 Index. Much like the first 100 days of a new presidency, this is a nice time to reflect on what has happened, what hasn’t happened, and what could happen next.

Two things stand out about the action so far this year. First, the bulls are in charge, as the S&P 500 was up 7.9% as of day 100, the fourth-best start to a year going back 20 years. Second is the lack of volatility. The good news is this is usually a bullish combination. Per Ryan Detrick, Senior Market Strategist, “Going back to 1950*, a strong start to the year for equities, coupled with low volatility, has usually led to continued strength.”

Has 2017 been one of the least volatile starts to a year ever? These three stats would back that up.

As of 100 trading days, the S&P 500 has:

  • An average intraday range of only 0.56%, breaking the previous record from 1995 of 0.69%.
  • Only had four days close up or down at least 1%, the least since 1972. Incredibly, 1964 had no 1% moves during the first 100 days.
  • Traded in a range (from high to low) of 7.0%, the seventh smallest range to start a year since 1950.

The logical question now is: What does a good start to the year after 100 days mean? Going back to 1950, the S&P 500 was up at least 7.5% (like 2017) 23 other times. As the chart below shows, the full year closed higher all 23 times with an impressive average annual gain of 23.4%. In other words, history would suggest a big sell-off, and a bear market starting here and now would be very rare.

“With respect to Atlanta Falcon fans, most teams win when they have been up by 28 points in the third quarter. Equities are similar historically; if there were big gains after 100 trading days, the full year tended to close higher. What matters the most though is what happens after a good start the first 100 days. This shows the S&P 500 continued to move higher over the balance of the year 20 out of 23 years, up a solid 9.0% on average,” per Ryan Detrick.


*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.

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

The Standard & Poor’s 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.

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