It’s the last day of the first quarter and it looks like the S&P 500 will close out Q1 on a high note. The index is currently up 0.80% with a little under an hour left to trade. Including today, the S&P 500 is only up 1.34% for the year, so today’s gain accounts for roughly 60% of the S&P 500’s year to date performance.
Most investment managers calculate their fee base off of the value of assets at the end of each quarter, so theoretically there is some incentive for managers to massage prices higher into the close. Crunching the numbers though, I couldn’t find any evidence that the last day of the quarter is much different than any other.
Going back to 1957, the performance of the S&P 500 on the last day of any quarter is just marginally better than its performance on any other day. Actually the final day of the quarter has been negative slightly more often than it’s been positive. In 228 attempts, the last day of the quarter was positive 49.1% of the time.