Market lore says what the market does from Christmas Eve through the first two days of a new year, the so-called “Santa Claus rally” period, offers a solid indication of what the market would do for the entire year.
Although this period often foretells full-year results accurately, it is not infallible.
Wall Street’s Santa provided a market boost in 74% of all years since World War II, which then on average led to the S&P 500 outperforming its average for all years. In 1937, 1938, 1948, 1956, 1969, 1980, 1982, 2000, and 2008 the market endured bear markets after a Santa Claus rally did not materialize. The last six times a Santa Claus rally did not occur were followed by three flat years (1994, 2004, and 2015), two major bear markets (2000 and 2008), and a mild bear market that ended in February 2016.