Hulbert: Black Friday Not an Indicator of Market Performance

The investment world usually waits with bated breath to see how “Black Friday” goes, assuming that the big holiday shopping kickoff will be a sign of consumers’ financial health and their willingness to spend during the biggest shopping season of the year. That often drives the market upward or downward in the day or two after Thanksgiving, MarketWatch’s Mark Hulbert writes

But, Hulbert says, those Black Friday-driven moves aren’t an indicator of how the rest of the year will turn out for the market. “It turns out, however, that the stock market consistently places too much importance on Black Friday,” Hulbert writes. “We learn next to nothing about how the holiday season is likely to turn out by focusing on how the stock market reacts to Black Friday — either on that day itself or on the following Monday, when more complete data have emerged on how retailers have fared on the busiest shopping day of the entire year.”

Examining data that goes back to 1896, Hulbert looked at the correlation between A) how the market performed on Black Friday and the following Monday, and B) how the market performed for the remainder of the year.

“Overall, I found no correlation in the 114-year sample,” he says. “That is, when stocks did poorly over the two sessions following Thanksgiving, the market on average through the end of the year performed no worse than it did when stocks soared in the two days following Thanksgiving.” In fact, Hulbert says that since 1980, stocks have actually performed best in December after performing badly on Black Friday and the following Monday, and vice versa.

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