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Some Truth to “Sell in May and Go Away” Adage

Average returns outside the U.S. have historically been negative for the five-and-a-half month stretch

There may be some truth to the old stock market adage “sell in May and go away, don’t come back ’till St. Leger’s Day,” outside the U.S. at least. The 30-year average return of the MSCI Asia Pacific Index from May 1 to Sept. 15 was negative 1.2 percent, that of Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index was a 1 percent loss and for the FTSE 100 Index was minus 0.4 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Conversely, the S&P 500 Index returned 1.2 percent, while the average gain for U.S. Treasuries was 2.8 percent in the five-and-a-half months leading to Britain’s St. Leger Day horse race.

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