Investors who ‘sell in May and go away’ this year could miss a big summer rally in the stock market, Bank of America says

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on October 27, 2022 in New York City.Spencer Platt/Getty Images

  • Investors that follow the old Wall Street adage “sell in May and go away” could miss a summer rally this year, according to Bank of America.

  • The bank found that the stock market tends to rally during the summer of the third year of a presidential cycle.

  • “Instead of ‘sell in May and go away’ it should be ‘buy in May and sell July/August,'” BofA said.

Investors that follow the “sell in May and go away” investment strategy could miss out on a summer rally in the stock market later this year, according to a Tuesday note from Bank of America.

The old Wall Street adage references the fact that the stock market has historically performed weak during the six-month period of May through October.

“Seasonality back to 1928 shows that May through October has the lowest average and median returns of any six-month period of the year with the S&P 500 up 65% of the time on an average return of 2.16% (3.11% median),” BofA technical strategist Stephen Suttmeier said.

The fact that the average and median gains for the stock market are not negative during the “sell in May and go away” time frame, the strategy “leaves much to be desired,” Suttmeier said.

In addition, stocks have historically shown signs of strength during summer months, especially in the third year of a presidential cycle.

“May can be a weak month for the S&P 500, but if you ‘sell in May and go away’ you could miss a Summer rally,” Suttmeier said.

Since 1928, June and August show solid average returns of nearly 1% and are both up nearly 60% of the time, while July has delivered an average return of 1.67% and is up 60% of the time.

That contrasts with the months of May and September, which have delivered average returns of -0.04% and -1.16%, respectively.

And during the third year of a presidential cycle, the S&P 500 has generated an average return of 3.26% from June to August and is up 70% of the time.

“Monthly seasonality suggests selling in the strong month of April, buying weakness in the risk-off month of May ahead of a summer rally and selling in July to August prior to September, which is the weakest month of the year,” Suttmeier said. “Instead of ‘sell in May and go away’ it should be ‘buy in May and sell July/August.'”

S&P 500 seasonality

Bank of America

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