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The First Day Of Month Seasonality In The S&P 500 (Trading The First Day Of The Month Explained)

Last Updated on 10 February, 2024 by Rejaul Karim

The first day of the month seasonality is strong in most markets. We have previously written about the turn of the month trading strategy, but today we look at the first trading day of the month.

The turn of the month includes the end of the month and the first three trading days of the new month. Let’s look at only the first trading day of the month: How does the first trading day of the month perform? In this article, we look at the first day of the month seasonality in the S&P 500.

The first trading day of the month shows abnormal returns and thus hands us some excellent trading opportunities.

The first trading day of the month

Let’s first define what the first trading day of the month is:

This has nothing to do with the calendar day. The first trading day of the month is exactly what it says: the first day of trading. If the first calendar day of the month is on a weekend or a holiday, the first trading day of the month is not the first calendar day.

The return on the first trading day of the month

Let’s check the return from the close of the last trading day until the close of the first trading day of the month. This is the result of the SPY from inception to July 2021:

The first trading day of the month

The best days were up until the GFC in 2008/09. The average return is 0.25% – significantly better than any random day, which has risen 0.04%.

The average gain has been 0.18% since 2010, thus the strategy still has some energy left.

If we look further back, we can see that the strategy didn’t work very well (GSPC – the S&P 500 cash index):

First trading day of the month backtest

The gain from the close of the last trading day until the close of the first trading day is evenly divided between close to open and open to close. This is the return from the close until the open of the first trading day of the month:

The First Day Of Month Seasonality In The S&P 500 (Trading The First Day Of The Month Explained)

The average gain is 0.12%.

And this is the first trading day of the month from open to the close:

The First Day Of Month Seasonality In The S&P 500 (Trading The First Day Of The Month Explained)

The average gain per trade is 0.13% – thus the gains are evenly distributed from the close to the open, and from the open to the close of the first trading day. The “day trade gains” are far higher than on any random day.

We have in a previous article looked at the returns in the S&P 500 divided between the night/overnight session and the daytrading session:

The first trading day of the month effect can be improved

We have a Trading Edge based on the first trading day of the month effect that will be published sometime in 2021 or 2022 (buying on the close of the last day of the month and selling x days later):

The first trading day of the month trading rules

Likewise, an overnight/night strategy holding from the close of the last trading day until the open of the new month will be published.

The first trading day of the month strategy:

As you can see from the number, it can be profitable to trade around the first trading day of the month. The returns from the close of the last day until the close of the first day shoes abnormal returns, and so do the return from the open to the close of the first trading day.

The first trading of the month trading strategy works. However, as always, we recommend doing your own research to find out that backtesting works.

FAQ

What is the significance of the first trading day of the month in the stock market?

The first trading day of the month is a specific day that marks the beginning of trading in a new month. It has shown abnormal returns in historical data, presenting traders with potential trading opportunities.

How is the first trading day of the month defined, and why is it important?

The first trading day of the month is not based on the calendar day but refers to the initial day of trading in a new month. It is significant because historical data indicates abnormal returns, making it an interesting focus for traders.

Is the performance of the first trading day consistent over different time periods?

The performance of the first trading day has varied over time. While there were notable gains before the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2008/09, the strategy still shows energy with an average gain of 0.18% since 2010.

Can the first trading day of the month strategy be improved for better profitability?

Yes, there are potential improvements to the strategy, and the article mentions a trading edge based on the first trading day of the month effect. However, it is always advisable for traders to conduct their own research and backtesting.

How should traders approach the first trading day of the month for optimal results?

Traders should approach the first trading day of the month with a well-researched strategy, considering factors like market trends, historical data, and potential improvements mentioned in the article.

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