Over the course of the first 21 days of this month, the “Sell in May and go away” cliché looked like particularly bad advice. The S&P 500 was up 4.2% month-to-date and appeared to be headed higher indefinitely.
On day 22, however, stocks started to unravel, forcing traders to ask if the Sell-in-May axiom means we should simply head for the exit sometime before the beginning of June.
The only way to answer the question is by going back in time and looking for the point in time during the month of May that stocks typically rolled over, and what happened after that. So, here’s a quick look at the last 10 Mays (not to mentions Junes, Julys, Augusts, etc.) for the S&P 500.
As it turns out, the adage isn’t an exact science.