Is there a better month to invest?
The quest for the perfect time to invest is a recurring topic in the financial world. In many circles, there’s a debate on whether certain months of the year are more conducive to investing, and this discussion extends to various types of investments beyond the real estate realm. In this article, we’ll explore whether there really is a better month to invest or if the reality is more complex than the calendar when it comes to investing.
Financial markets are dynamic and influenced by a diverse range of factors that go beyond seasonality. While it’s true that certain periods may exhibit seasonal patterns in market volatility or activity, predicting movements solely based on the calendar is risky. Furthermore, as we’ve seen in this blog, attempting to predict the market, in general, is a futile endeavor.
Factors to consider beyond time
Before considering whether there are better times of the year to invest or not, it’s important to take into account some factors. The first one seems obvious: the state of the economy. As we know, a crisis, a war, inflation, or a pandemic can significantly impact markets, diluting any wisdom we may think we have about them.
Another crucial aspect is examining our own investment objectives. If we aim for quick gains – in a risky venture – it might make sense to gauge the market’s status to make time-critical decisions. But if we follow the safer strategy for most investors – the long term – market fluctuations will matter much less to us.
The January effect and other conventions
It’s true that seasonality might play a role in some markets or asset types, although its impact can be variable. For instance, the market tends to be volatile during the summer months. The explanation might be simpler than we think: like many of us, traders go on vacation in the summer, resulting in fewer trades in the markets.
Others speak of the January Effect, which has two possible interpretations. According to some authors, what happens in the early days of the year will be a fairly accurate reflection of the market’s behavior throughout the year. For others, the January Effect is related to a rally in stocks that usually occurs at the start of each year. In theory, this is due to increased activity contrasting with the year-end decrease.
November, October, December…
Certain analysts point out that November is a good month for stocks. Data from the S&P 500, the primary benchmark index in the United States, indicates an average gain of 6.7% in the period from November to April since 1990. Financial journalist Jason Zweig notes that October has a very bad reputation – it was the month of the great crash of 1987. However, historically, this month has averaged the fifth best performance of the 12 months in a year.
For others, during the last quarter of the year, markets tend to rise “80% of the time.” There’s also the so-called “Christmas rally,” a theoretical bullish trend that often occurs towards the end of the year. This contradicts a previous analysis that points to lower activity in December…
Is there a better month to invest?
Ultimately, the idea that certain months are inherently “better” for investing is relative and depends on several factors beyond the calendar. Individual investment strategy, market understanding, and risk management are fundamental aspects that prevail over mere consideration of the months of the year. Moreover, if there were genuinely an ideal time to invest, everyone would seize it and, consequently, it would cease to be ideal.
Informed decision-making, diversification, and understanding market cycles are essential pillars in any successful investment strategy, regardless of the time of year. Instead of waiting for the perfect moment, the key to investing with peace of mind lies more so in a solid, long-term strategy that considers multiple variables beyond the calendar.