History hasn’t been much of a guide lately. This current rally has defied all odds, bucking time-tested trends as stocks have motored up 12% over the year’s first three months.
But for what it’s worth, history and the Stock Trader’s Almanac tell us that today should be a down day for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The index has fallen 12 of the last 17 years on the final trading day in March, which is what today is.
Even if there is a pullback today, it would do little to dampen what has been another strong month for U.S. stocks. As of 10:30 this morning, Dow stocks had gained 4.8% in March. The S&P 500 has gained 3%. But those gains were about par for the course in what is now a four-month rally that extends all the way back to Thanksgiving week.
Since November 25, the S&P has gained 21.6%, while the Dow is up 17%.
The amazing rally may not be over yet. According to the Almanac, April has been the best month for Dow stocks since 1950, posting average gains of 2%. The Dow has been up each of the last six Aprils, in fact, with an average gain of 4.2%.
The month typically starts faster than it ends as the market anticipates strong first-quarter earnings. Stocks do sometimes fall after tax day in mid-April, however.
At least that’s what history tells us. But this year, it seems, the market is rewriting the record books.