When to Feel ‘Energetic’ (or NOT)

  • SumoMe

If you are looking for a market sector with some serious seasonal trends, look no further than the energy sector.  In this article, I noted the bullish tendency for ticker FSESX during the months of February, March and April.  In this piece, we will add one more “favorable” month and then also look at a 6-month “unfavorable” period.

For the record, the information that follows is not being recommended as a standalone strategy.  It is presented simply to make you aware of certain long-term trends that have been very persistently bullish (or bearish as the case may be) in the energy sector.

(See also Why You Should Be Rooting for a Bullish January)

4 Favorable Months

*The four “favorable” months for our test are February, March, April and December

Figure 1 displays the growth of $1,000 invested in ticker FSESX only during these four months every year since 1986 versus simply buying-and-holding ticker FSESX.1Figure 1 – Growth of $1,000 invested in FSESX only during Feb, Mar, Apr, Dec every year since 1986

Starting in 1986, an initial $1,000 investment grew to $76,019 (or +7,500%) versus $10,237 (or 923%) using a buy-and-hold strategy.

6 Unfavorable Months

The six “Unfavorable” months are June, July, August, September, October and November.

First the “positive” news:

*This 6-month period has managed to show a gain 14 times in 31 years – so by no means should you consider this period a “sure thing” loser

*During 4 separate years – 1997, 2003, 2004 and 2010 – the “unfavorable” months registered a cumulative gain in excess of +30%.

Doesn’t sound all that “unfavorable” so far does it?  But here’s the catch: Despite the occasional 30%or more gain, it is fair to refer to this 6-month period as “unfavorable” as the cumulative long-term results of buying and holding FSESX during these months has been nothing short of devastating.

Figure 2 displays the growth of $1,000 invested in ticker FSESX only between the end of May and the end of November every year starting in 1986.3Figure 2 – Growth of $1,000 invested in FSESX only during June through November every year since 1986

Starting in 1986, an initial $1,000 investment declined to just $82, or a cumulative loss of -91.8%

Figure 3 displays some comparative data between favorable and unfavorable periods as well as using a Buy-and-Hold strategy.

Measure Buy-and-Hold 4 Favorable Months 6 Unfavorable Months
Average Annual % +(-) 12.8 16.5 (-4.2)
Median Annual % +(-) 8.7 15.5 (-1.8)
Standard Deviation 33.4 20.1 24.6
# Years UP 18 26 14
# Years DOWN 13 5 17
Worst Year (-55.4) 2008 (-7.6) 1994 (-62.8) 2008
$1,000 becomes $10,237 $76,019 $82
Cumulative % +(-) +923% +7,500% (-92%)

Figure 3 – Comparative Results

Figure 4 displays the year-to-year results for a Buy-and-Hold approach versus holding only during the 4 “favorable” months or the “Unfavorable” 6 months.

Year All 12 months % +(-) 4 Favorable % +(-) 6 Unfavorable % +(-)
1986 (8.9) (5.2) (9.2)
1987 (20.7) 22.9 (40.1)
1988 (4.2) 22.8 (16.3)
1989 50.3 27.1 16.2
1990 8.7 4.9 (11.2)
1991 (19.9) 4.1 (25.0)
1992 4.9 (1.6) (1.3)
1993 16.4 24.5 (10.7)
1994 (0.5) (7.6) 3.1
1995 40.0 33.7 2.0
1996 45.9 22.5 20.8
1997 43.9 (4.9) 32.9
1998 (41.4) 26.5 (50.5)
1999 80.9 74.1 7.5
2000 51.7 77.6 (21.1)
2001 (22.4) 20.8 (32.4)
2002 2.2 26.2 (18.0)
2003 13.1 15.5 (16.0)
2004 26.2 1.2 30.2
2005 47.4 4.8 34.0
2006 (9.1) (4.1) (1.8)
2007 58.3 25.6 16.7
2008 (55.4) 10.5 (62.8)
2009 60.4 24.5 9.6
2010 31.7 21.6 33.7
2011 (18.5) 3.1 (16.8)
2012 (3.9) 0.7 9.6
2013 14.1 0.3 11.5
2014 (19.5) 7.2 (26.7)
2015 (19.7) 2.9 (17.9)
2016 44.2 28.4 20.1

Figure 4 – Yearly % +(-) for Buy-and-Hold versus 4 Favorable Months versus 6 Unfavorable Months

Summary

There is no guarantee from year-to-year results of buying and holding ticker FSESX during the “Favorable 4” months will show a gain and/or outperform the “Unfavorable 6” months. And there is by no means any guarantee that the “Unfavorable 6” will show a loss during any given year (note that 2016 saw the Unfavorable 6 generate a cumulative gain of +20.1%!).  So just remember that we are talking about some very long-term  trends here.

Still, most investors can discern the difference between:

*Favorable 4 months gain = +7,500%

*Unfavorable 6 months loss = (-92%)

This type of difference is what we “quantitative types” refer to as “statistically significant.”

Jay Kaeppel

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