We’re just a one day away from the spookiest day of the year with Halloween falling this Wednesday. With ghosts, goblins and ghouls running amok, you’d be inclined to think that there is nothing but fear and fright all around on the evening of the 31st. There is, however, one reason to be just a little bit joyous when the clock strikes midnight and the eleventh month of 2018 gets underway, this being that October has come to an end. For a lot of us, the most frightening part of October isn’t the creepy costumes, decorations, or haunted houses, but the fact that October is the worst month for the market in regards to overall average performance.
So is this just a random coincidence, or is there a reason for the consistent downturn during the month? Firstly, the month got its unfortunate reputation as a less than stellar one for investors in 1929, when on October 29 the market collapsed and resulted in our nation’s worst economic recession, now known as the Great Depression. The second reason October has worse stock performance is that it follows September, another historically poor month for the market whose performance could potentially bleed into the following month. Finally, the idea of behavioral finance and investing comes into play heavily in this case. With a lot of investors cognizant of October’s reputation as a poor month for the market, it can cause them to make rash decisions without really thinking, perhaps selling hard on their currently owned assets before the perceived downturn hits, which of course will end up aiding the cause of the downturn they sought to avoid. So, if the thought of vampires and werewolves are making you sleep with the lights on this week, just remember that October will soon be behind us, and with it, hopefully, the start of better market performance in the month of November. I’ve always liked Thanksgiving better anyway.