Stockmarkets are more likely to rise in December than in any other month, according to Schroders' research covering more than 30 years of data.
Over the 33-year period, the data surveyed four indices (MSCI World, FTSE 100, S&P 500 and Eurostoxx) and found markets rose 75% of the time in December compared to falls in June, August and September.
The most extreme case of monthly disparity was for the MSCI World index, which finished higher on 22 December more than 79% of the time.
The statistic supports the so-called ‘Santa Rally' idea, which has perpetuated markets for years, where strong performance occurs in equities in the lead-up to Christmas.
One theory behind this, Schroders said, is investor psychology; seasonal goodwill among investors drives more buying than selling. It could also be down to fund managers rebalancing portfolios ahead of the year-end.
During its research, Schroders found the Nikkei index bucked the trend to perform markedly worse in December. The index has only risen 61% of the time, with the average rise just 0.49%. This lack of a traditional ‘Santa Rally' could be caused by the fact Japan does not celebrate Christmas.
James Rainbow, co-head of Schroders UK intermediary business, commented: "Those looking to gamble on Santa spreading his goodwill around the markets again this year do so at their own risk.
"You should not expect stockmarket history to repeat itself and you should certainly treat superstitions about the markets with a huge pinch of salt.
"It really is one for day traders to worry about. A far better approach is to think long-term. Make sure you have a clear investment plan and stick to it."
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