The Tell: Friday the 13th is typically a great day for the stock market

Friday the 13th is supposed to be unlucky day, but for the stock market, it’s anything but.

A team of analysts from Bespoke Investment Group crunched the numbers to show that the S&P 500 index tends to outperform on Fridays, and on the 13th day of the month. However, when the two occur together, on Friday the 13th, average gains for the S&P 500 were four times the historical average daily move dating back to 1953, when the modern five-day trading week was first adopted.

Dating back to 1953, the S&P 500 has seen an average daily gain of 3.4 basis points on Friday the 13th.

However, “Fridays have been much stronger with an average daily gain of 6.1 bps and positive returns 55.9% of the time.  Even the 13th day of the month has been better than average with an average gain of 5.2 bps and positive returns 53.6% of the time,” the Bespoke team said.

Meanwhile, the average gain for Friday the 13th has been 14.5 basis points, with gains seen 58% of the time. That’s more than four times the average daily gain for the index, which was launched in 1957. Investors use historical data to reconstruct S&P 500 performance from before its formal creation.



To be sure, Friday the 13th performance has historically varied from month to month. When it falls in October, average performance is notably weaker than other months.

“With a median daily gain of 9 bps, October Friday the 13ths are right in the middle of the pack in a tie for 6th place amount the 12 months. The best months have been the summer months of June, July, and August with median gains of 49 bps, 30 bps, and 21 bps, respectively,” the Bespoke team said.


U.S. stocks opened higher on Friday, with the S&P 500
Nasdaq Composite
and Dow Jones Industrial Average
rising out the gate as a flurry of earnings reports from major banks and financial institutions ushered in the start of the third-quarter earnings season.


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