Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, followed by Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). Many of New York City’s stock traders are Jewish. A Wall Street adage arose by about the 1920s; “Buy on Rosh Hashanah and sell on Yom Kippur.”
Today, the reverse may be true and the adage is often given as: “Sell on Rosh Hashanah and buy on Yom Kippur.”
Wikipedia: Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah (Hebrew: ראש השנה, literally “head of the year,” Biblical: IPA: [ˈɾoʃ haʃːɔˈnɔh], Israeli: [ˈʁoʃ haʃaˈna], Yiddish: [ˈroʊʃ hɑˈʃɔnə]) is a Jewish holiday commonly referred to as the “Jewish New Year.” It is observed on the first day of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, as ordained in the Torah, in Leviticus 23:24. Rosh Hashanah is the first of the High Holidays or Yamim Noraim (“Days of Awe”), or Asseret Yemei Teshuva (The Ten Days of Repentance) which are days specifically set aside to focus on repentance that conclude with the holiday of Yom Kippur. Rosh Hashanah is the start of the civil year in the Hebrew calendar (one of four “new year” observances that define various legal “years” for different purposes). It is the new year for people, animals, and legal contracts. The Mishnah also sets this day aside as the new year for calculating calendar years and sabbatical (shmita) and jubilee (yovel) years. Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of man whereas five days earlier, on 25 of Elul, marks the first day of creation.
Wikipedia: Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur (Hebrew: יוֹם כִּפּוּר, IPA: [ˈjɔm kiˈpur]), also known in English as the Day of Atonement, is the most solemn and important of the Jewish holidays. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews have traditionally observed this holiday with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer.
27 September 1935, Altoona (PA) Mirror, pg. 30, col. 4:
An old Wall Street adage says: “Sell before Rosh Hashanah; buy before Yom Kippur.”
17 September 1936, Chester (PA) Times, pg. 25, col. 5:
Some (selling—ed.) came from Jewish traders who wanted to be out of the market for the Rosh Ha-Shanah holiday which began at sun-down last night. There is an old adage in Wall street: “Sell on Rosh Ha-Shanah and buy on Yom Kippur.” The latter holiday starts on Friday, September 25, at sun-down.
1 September 1937, Chester (PA) Times, pg. 12, col. 5:
The old Wall street adage is: “Buy on Rosh Hashanah and sell on Yom Kippur.”
16 September 1958, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Industrial Stocks Hit New Highs,” section 1, pg. 1:
Steels, coppers, motors, oils and specialties rang up gains running to more than three points as investors heeded the old saying: “Buy on Rosh Hashanah and sell on Yom Kippur.”
24 May 1970, New York (NY) Times, “Investment Syndromes Grooving, as Reason Decays” by Israel Shenker, pg. F12:
But is it more rational to summer rallies and winter declines, in the hemline theory which says stocks drop when hemlines do, or even in the old “Religious Maniac Syndrome”—“Buy at Rosh ha-Shanah, sell at.Yom Kippur”?
Google Groups: misc.invest.stocks
Subject: Re: Sell by Rosh Hashana or is it….
>What’s that old saying—sell by Rosh Hashana, buy by Yom Kippur—or is it
>the opposite or what, I forget. I think it worked for a long time and then
>became discredited in recent years along with a lot of other shibboleths.
>It is the nature of markets that items of this nature will always self
>destruct at times. Anyways, We have an interesting conflux of events next
>week with Rosh Hashana on September 25, The Fed Open Market Committee
>Meeting on September 26, and the release of the Durable Goods statistics
>for August on September 27. I mention the Duable Goods statistics because
>I read one economist, a bull on intermediate and long term interest rates,
>who expects a strong rebound in durable goods that would dash hopes for a
>Fed easing in the near term and would unsettle the capital markets.
>Translation-an excuse for a selloff or, good grief, maybe the opposite
>given the predictive records of…......Now,just what is that old saying?
>“Don’t part with your illusions, when they are gone you may still exist
but you havealot of people who really believe this.
the saying is buy on Rosh Hashana, sell on Yom Kippur.
New York (NY) Times
MINDING YOUR BUSINESS;
In Search of the Best Market Barometer
By LAURA PEDERSEN
Published: July 21, 1996
Q. What is the best stock market indicator to watch? ERIN SLEET Kansas City, Mo.
A. If I knew, I’d be—as the old song goes—as rich as Rockefeller. Anyone who even dabbles in stocks knows how hard it is to divine which way they are headed. When J. Pierpont Morgan Sr. was asked what the market was about to do, he snapped, “It will fluctuate,” summing up many investors’ frustration.
But there are a host of indicators, trends and theories—some, of course, more reliable and economically significant than others—that traders and analysts use to guide their investing strategies.
The Jewish New Year, Rosh ha-Shanah, celebrates renewal and turning over a new leaf. So how do many investors greet it? By unloading their portfolios. The maxim goes: Sell near Rosh ha-Shanah; buy close to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which always falls 10 days later.
Ask TheStreet: Rosh Hashanah Selling
By Gregg Greenberg
09/18/06 - 04:10 PM EDT
“Sell on Rosh Hashanah and buy on Yom Kippur” is an old saying on Wall Street that coincides with the Jewish High Holidays. What does it mean and, more importantly, does it work? Thanks, S.G.
That old Wall Street adage runs along the lines of “Sell in May and go away” or the so-called Super Bowl Indicator. It’s one of those maxims based more on market lore than on fundamental analysis.
But hey, it gives traders something to talk about.
Rosh Hashanah, which marks the Jewish new year and literally means “head of the year,” occurs on the first and second days of the Hebrew month of Tishri. Since the Jewish calendar, which is lunisolar, or based on the sun and moon, differs from the solar-based Gregorian calendar used by most people around the world, Rosh Hashanah does not fall on the same date each year.
It starts this year—the Jewish year 5767—on the evening of Sept. 22, and runs through the weekend. Yom Kippur falls on Oct. 2.
Rosh Hashanah also kicks off what is known as the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of intense reflection that culminates on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement and the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.
In order to concentrate on their prayers instead of their portfolios, there was a time when many Jews would sell their holdings ahead of the Days of Awe, or “Sell on Rosh Hashanah and buy on Yom Kippur.”
“The saying goes back to the 1920s, when it was said that this was the strategy of the Loebs and other prominent Jewish financiers, but it has not really been relevant since,” says Larry Wachtel of Wachovia securities.
Another possibility, speculates Rabbi Michael Katz of Temple Beth Torah in Jericho, N.Y., is that it makes good financial sense.
“On Rosh Hashanah, things are good, upbeat and positive. We gather together, wish each other a Happy New Year and we feast. That is the perfect time to sell, when times are high. On the other hand, investors like to buy when the market is low, and Yom Kippur is a downer. We worry about being sealed for death, and we fast.”
Ticker Sense (September 22, 2006)
“Sell on Rosh Hashanah and Buy on Yom Kippur”
With Rosh Hashanah commencing at sunset tonight, we thought it befitting to put this adage to the test after receiving inspiration from a link at the Kirk Report to an article about the roots of the saying on TheStreet.com. (According to the article, the origins of this practice seem to be the belief of Jewish investors that they should liquidate their portfolios during the holiday so that their attentions could be fully focused on their worship.)
Looking back from 1915 on, we tested the performance of the DJIA from the last close before Rosh Hashanah until the last close before Yom Kippur (nine days). Then we also looked at how the Dow did from Yom Kippur until the end of the Gregorian calendar year (December 31st).
As it turns out, the thing actually might work. The Dow averaged -0.62% from Rosh Hashanah until Yom Kippur, while it gained 1.99% from Yom Kippur to the end of the year. For those compelled to action (or to see how this year plays out), Rosh Hashanah begins tonight at sunset and Yom Kippur begins at sunset on October 1st.
Chris Perruna (September 10, 2007)
Sell Rosh Hashanah, Buy Yom Kippur
History tells us to sell this Thursday (September 13, 2007) due to the Rosh Hashanah holiday. It then tells us to buy next Friday (September 21, 2007) when Yom Kippur begins.
Before you follow this advice blindly; I would like to explain that I am having some fun to open the week with some statistics from the Stock Trader’s Almanac. I don’t necessarily buy and sell based on these holiday patterns (and you shouldn’t either) but I like to note and highlight them on the blog from time to time.
Religious Holiday Data:
The Dow Jones Industrial Index has been down 20 of the past 35 years from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur and up 24 of the 35 years from Yom Kippur to Passover. The average loss starting on Rosh Hashanah is (0.4%) and the average gain is 7.1% after Yom Kippur. Seven of the past eight years have given us negative readings starting on Rosh Hashanah while 14 of the past 16 years have shown positive gains from Yom Kippur to Passover. The DOW has gained an average of 9.1% over the past 16 years from Yom Kippur to Passover with the 1998-99 period topping the list at 25.4%.
Sell Before Sundown?
Posted by John Carney, Sep 12, 2007, 2:02pm
It’s time for a perennial Wall Street debate to begin once more: What’s the correct trading strategy for the Jewish High Holy Days?
Over on the Wall Street Journal’s MarketBeat column, Mark Gaffen points out that the old adage “Buy Rosh Hashanah, sell Yom Kippur” has been working in reverse for a couple of decades now, with stocks falling between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
“On average, from 1971 to 2005, the S&P 500 has fallen 0.4% between those days, with a number of real doozies, including a 2.2% decline in 2005 and a 1.9% drop in 2004. (The data doesn’t include 2006, when the market rose 1.6%.),” Gaffe explains.
Gaffen quotes Stock Trader’s Almanac’s Jeffrey Hirsch, who writes “Perhaps it’s Talmudic wisdom, but selling stocks before the eight-day span of the high holidays has avoided many declines, especially during uncertain times.”
Actually, we’ve heard the reverse of the adage—sell Rosh Hashanah, buy Yom Kipur—almost as many times as the other way around. We’re not even sure which one is the original.
We asked our friend Steven Weiss, who writes The Cannonist blog, for some clarification on the matter. “In order to accept any argument along these lines, wouldn’t one first have to accept the premise that Jews really do control Wall Street?” Weiss said.
“Sell Rosh Hashanah, Buy Yom Kippur” might not only be more profitable, it seems to make more sense historically.
“Certainly the In order to concentrate on their prayers instead of their portfolios, there was a time when many Jews would sell their holdings ahead of the Days of Awe, or ‘Sell on Rosh Hashanah and buy on Yom Kippur,’” Greg Greenberg wrote on theStreet.com last year. Apparently this version goes back to the 1920s, when many believed that selling into the holiday was the strategy of the Loebs and other prominent Jewish financiers.
Stock Trader’s Almanac 2008
By Jeffrey A. Hirsch, Yale Hirsch
Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons
SELL ROSH HASHANAH, BUY YOM KIPPUR, SELL PASSOVER
Our headline above may surprise some investors who vaguely remember the old saying on the Street, “Buy Rosh Hashanah, Sell Yom Kippur.” Though it had a good record at one time, it stopped working in the middle of the last century. Still, it gets tossed around every autumn when the “high holidays” are on the minds of traders as many of their Jewish colleagues take off to observe the Jewish New Year and Day of Atonement. It’s not unlike the “summer rally,” which gets mentioned every year despite the fact (page 70) that it’s the worst season for stock prices.
It often pays to be a contrarian when the old bromides are being tossed around, buying instead of selling Yom Kippur.
New York (NY) Sun
The Bailout Bust
Editorial of The New York Sun
September 30, 2008
Those who blame yesterday’s dive in the stock market on the House of Representatives’ failure to approve the Paulson-Pelosi bailout plan can consider that the market was down sharply yesterday even before the House vote, defying predictions that the agreement on a deal that was announced over the weekend would yield a rally. Half of the Wall Street adage — sell on Rosh Hashana, buy on Yom Kippur — was proven a day early.
But it’s a two-part adage — sell on Rosh Hashana, buy on Yom Kippur — and the second part of the adage is the buy side. Amid all the carnage in the stock market yesterday, there were at least a few hopeful signs for New York.
New York City • Banking/Finance/Insurance • Tuesday, September 30, 2008 • Permalink