While many believe that mid-term elections mean bad news for the stock market, Mark Hulbert says the data indicates otherwise.
In his latest MarketWatch column, Hulbert analyzes the performance of stocks in mid-term election years compared to other years. Previously, he writes, he has shown that the market’s performance in mid-term election calendar years “is not significantly different” than its return in other years, so his analysis this time focused on the magnitude of corrections that have occurred.
His findings: “On average, the Dow suffers a 19.3% correction during such [mid-term election] years. … But there’s less here than meets the eye. It turns out that all years, not just midterm election years, suffer corrections of more or less equal magnitude. For example, the average correction for non-midterm-election years is 16.7%. Given the variability in the year-by-year results, the difference between that and the 19.3% average that exists for midterm elections years is not significant at the 95% confidence level that statisticians often use to judge whether a pattern is genuine.”
Hulbert says he’s not sure how the mid-term election year myth has developed. But he suspects it has to do with people mistaking correlation for causation. He also says that the fallacy of the argument doesn’t mean that the market won’t continue to struggle this year. “But,” he adds, “if it does, it won’t be caused by the mere fact that this year is a midterm election year.”