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What a difference turning a page of the calendar makes.

Historically speaking.

November marks the beginning of the best six months of the year for market returns.

According to the Stock Trader’s Almanac, from 1950 through 2020, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained an average of 7.2% from November 1 through April 30. For the other six months of the year the average gain was just 0.6%.

And November, December, and January are the three best months of the year. Historically. The average gain from the Standard & Poor’s 500 from 1950 through 2020 is 1.6% i November, 1.5% in December, and 1.1% in January. (With an average gain of 1.6% April is the best month during this period.)

August (with a 0.1% average loss) and September (with an 0.4% loss) are the worst two months for the S&P 500.

This doesn’t mean that we haven’t had big down years for the six good months. In 2019, for example, the November through April loss was 10.0% (while the May through October period gained 1.7%.) And in a “bad” year lie 2008, the best months “best” was still a 12.4% loss. (Better than the 27.3% loss in the worst six months.)

Frankly, specific market moving news–Federal Reserve moves on interest rates or a debt crisis in China or global supply chain chaos–can upset the historical pattern.

Nonetheless, the trend during the last three months of the year is–in most years strongly upwards. And I think that 2021 is likely to continue that pattern what with FOMO (fear of rising out) driving money managers to put cash into assets and the Federal Reserve making bonds way less attractive than stocks.

Your strategy for this part of the year should be to try to find bargains when you can that provide relatively good entry points to putting new money to work (which is what my Special Report: 4 Strategies and 14 Best Buy Stock Picks is all about), to try to ride the market higher without taking on excessive (yeah, define that one, please) risk, and to keep in mind that big rally ending risks lurk out there on the horizon. This also means, I think, putting less effort and money into hedging risk (although I think there will still be opportunities to make money on volatility and I certainly wouldn’t stop trying to manage risk here.)

I’ll be posting my ideas on how to accomplish those sometimes contradictory goals over the next few months.