For the third time this year, the superstitious among us are cautiously awaiting the coming (and going) of Friday the 13th. While this is traditionally a day of bad luck, the stock market has generally been unfazed by Friday the 13th. In the first table below, we highlight the DJIA's average performance on the 185 Friday the 13ths since 1900. The average return on these days is a gain of 0.04% with positive returns 58.4% of the time. As shown, while the average return is better than all days, it is below the average gain we typically see on all Fridays. However, the 58.4% frequency of positive returns is better than the average for all days and all Fridays.
Looking back at the last ten Friday the 13ths, the average return has been 0.10%, with positive returns 60% of the time. In terms of extremes, the DJIA's best Friday the 13th was in December 1929, when the index finished the day up 2.66%. The worst day came more recently back in October 1989, when the DJIA lost 6.91%. History buffs will remember that this was the day the $7 billion leveraged buyout of UAL Corp fell through, causing the collapse of the junk bond market.
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