With April winding down, you can count on someone, somewhere saying, “sell in May and go away”. That pronouncement is mainly popular because it rhymes, but there is truth behind it. Since 1966 the All-Share index has delivered a total return after inflation of 7.9% on average from Halloween to May Day, but has lost an average of 0.6% from May Day to Halloween – even including dividends. This is because in March & April lighter evenings and warmer days cheer us up, which makes us more willing to take risks such as buying shares. So prices rise to high levels, which are difficult to sustain over the summer. Likewise, in the autumn the darker nights make us gloomier, with the result that prices fall to low levels from which they recover.
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