As a piece of trivia, one of the more interesting facts about the strong performance of the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) so far this year is that Tuesdays have built an impressive track record throughout the year. After opening the year with a loss on Jan. 8, the Dow has risen on 19 consecutive Tuesdays, with today's gains set to extend the streak to 20 if they hold up until the close. Moreover, heading into today, about 1,400 points of the Dow's 2,200-point year-to-date rise have come on Tuesdays.
The fascination with days of the week is nothing new. Over the years, analysts have regularly looked to see whether stocks tend to perform better on certain days than on others. In Stocks for the Long Run, market historian Jeremy Siegel examined Dow data going back to 1885 and found that Mondays tends to perform far worse than other days of the week, with Fridays producing the greatest average daily returns. A more recent look at S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) returns from 1980 to 2012 found that the highest percentage of positive days fell on Wednesdays, while Tuesdays have produced the best average percentage return despite being the least likely day on which to see a rising market.
The hazard of such trivia is the temptation to draw too many conclusions from it. Even if you could conclude with certainty that one day of the week would produce a positive-return bias, the size of that bias would have to be big to offset the high trading costs and tax consequences of a strategy that shifted you in and out of stocks 52 times a year. Moreover, what works in one market environment might be disastrous in others; note that the longest positive streak in history for a particular day involved 24 consecutive Wednesday advances, wherein selling at the Tuesday close would have been the worst possible move.
Streaks and other minutiae may pique our curiosity, but long-term investors shouldn't let the Tuesday streak influence their overall investing strategy. If the latest news headlines distract you from your course, then you're better off tuning out and focusing instead on the information that has real consequences on the stock market and your investments.
Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
More from The Motley Fool
Does a Strong Start Make 2018 a Sure Winner for Stocks?
Find out whether the so-called "January effect" is real.
Meet the 2018 Dogs of the Dow
Learn the basics of this simple dividend-investing strategy.
The Dow's Worst Day in 2017
Even with big gains, there were some scary times for the average.