Tomorrow is the first Friday the 13th to happen in October since 2006. Of course, this is a big day if you are unfortunate enough to suffer from triskaidekaphobia—the fear of the number 13. A fear of the actual day of Friday the 13th is called paraskevidekatriaphobia or friggatriskaidekaphobia.
Now that those big words are out of the way, does this fateful day really mean anything?
The table below shows how the S&P 500 Index has performed historically each day of the week. But it’s really no surprise. Generally speaking, no one likes Monday, and it shows as it is by far the worst day of the week for the index.
Since 1928, there have been 152 instances of Friday the 13th; and wouldn’t you know it, the S&P 500 does a little worse on average with an annualized 4.2% gain versus 12.8% for all Fridays*. Comparing the daily performance in the chart below, the index’s average return on Friday the 13th is notably below the median, which tells us that the average is skewed by some rather large drops.
Speaking of those large drops, would you believe that they tend to take place in October? That’s right; the two worst “Friday the 13th” daily returns for the S&P 500 took place in the month of October: -3.8% in 1933 and -6.1% in 1989. The fun doesn’t stop there though, as tomorrow will be the thirteenth Friday the 13th to occur in October. Breaking it down by month, sure enough October tends to see some of the worst performances on Friday the 13th.
Per Ryan Detrick, Senior Market Strategist, “Unless you break a mirror or see a black cat on Friday, we aren’t in any way saying one day matters more or less than another. Still, wouldn’t you know it— Friday the 13th tends to be a weak day on average; but taking it a step further, this day does even worse during October. You can’t make this stuff up!”
Happy Friday the 13th everyone.
*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.
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