Eckett, The Harriman Stock Market Almanac 2017

by: Brenda Jubin

Originally published December 20, 2016

This is the first year I've seen The Harriman Stock Market Almanac by Stephen Eckett, although its first edition was published in Great Britain in 2004. This is the 10th edition (Yes, I do know how to subtract. It seems that the almanac wasn't put out every year).

Although clearly inspired by the American Stock Trader's Almanac, now in its 50th year, the British almanac has some unique features that make it particularly valuable.

First, the calendar section includes daily historical data for the FTSE 100 (from 1984), FTSE 250 (from 1985), S&P 500 (from 1950), and NIKKEI (from 1984). For each of these indexes, the almanac provides three numbers (Sinclair Numbers) for every trading day, week, and month of the year: (1) the proportion of returns that were positive, (2) the average change, and (3) the standard deviation of the returns.

Second, the almanac looks at quite a few trading strategies, some nonsensical (like the Super Bowl indicator), some most likely coincidental (like the market rising sharply between lunar eclipses occurring in consecutive months), some producing inconsistent results (odd and even week returns). Others might have some merit, or at least trigger further ideas for testing: the FTSE 100/S&P 500 monthly switching strategy, the quarterly sector strategy, and the bounceback portfolio.

Oh, and if you didn't know the conclusion of the adage "sell in May and go away," it's "don't come back till St Leger Day." The St Leger is "the last big event of the UK horse-racing calendar and usually takes place in mid-September."

The Harriman Stock Market Almanac is hardbound, which means that unlike its American counterpart, it doesn't open up flat. Even so, it's going to be my desk "calendar" for 2017. Time for a change, for a more global outlook.

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