With the month of May beginning tomorrow, we wanted to highlight the best and worst S&P 500 performances during the month since 1928. Overall, the S&P 500 has averaged a decline of 0.15% during the month, which is among the weaker average monthly performances of the year.
While investors debate the merits of "Sell in May and go away," we thought it was worth pointing out that May has increasingly become a volatile month in recent years. As shown in the table below, two of the 10 worst months of May going all the way back to 1928 have both occurred during the current bull market (2010 and 2012).
Furthermore, one of the 10 best Mays of all time also came during the current bull market (2009). In other words, three of the four Mays during the current bull market have qualified as one of the 10 best or worst Mays of all time. That leaves 2011 as the only year where May was not one of the 10 best or worst Mays ever. In that year, the S&P 500 declined 1.4%. With the month of May averaging a decline of 2.64% during the current bull market, you can't blame bulls for wanting to take the month off in 2013.