What to Expect From Stocks Thanksgiving Week

Next week could be a choppy one for the S&P 500 Index (SPX)

Senior Quantitative Analyst
Nov 16, 2022 at 8:00 AM
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Thanksgiving 2022 is next week. It’s been a tough year for stocks, so its safe to assume no one knows what to expect. It is a unique three-and-a-half day trading week with markets closed on Thursday and at 1:00 p.m. ET Friday. This week, I am looking at how stocks have performed in the past during the week of Thanksgiving. I’ll also list some sectors and stocks that have stood out over the holiday.

Stocks During Thanksgiving Week

Thanksgiving week has tended to be bullish. Over the past 50 years, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) has gained on average 0.54% during the week with 68% of the returns positive. Other weeks average a gain of 0.16% and positive 56% of the time.


The tables below break down Thanksgiving week by day. Historically, the first couple days of the week have seen their struggles. Monday has averaged a small gain better than other Mondays, which have averaged a loss, but Monday of Thanksgiving week has been negative more times than positive. Tuesday, despite being positive 62% of the time, averages a small loss. The weekly outperformance has been due to the day before Thanksgiving and the day after. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving has been positive 78% of the time averaging a gain of 0.30%. The day after Thanksgiving has averaged a 0.22% return over the past 50 years and has been positive 66% of the time. Also notable, other than Monday, the other days of Thanksgiving week have seen significantly less volatility than normal.


Notable Stocks and Sectors to Watch

For the rest of the analysis, I’m considering current S&P 500 stocks over the past 10 years. The table below lists the top 10 sectors by average return during the week of Thanksgiving. The three sectors, travel and leisure, personal goods and retailers make a lot of sense heading into Thanksgiving with all the traveling and the beginning of the holiday shopping season.


The table below shows the worst sectors during the turkey holiday. Oil stocks and utilities have been out of favor during this time of year. If you were considering shorting one of these sectors or selling stocks from one of these sectors, now might be the time.


Below is a list of individual S&P 500 stocks that have performed the best during the week of Thanksgiving over the past ten years. It’s sorted first by percent positive and then by average returns. Kimberly-Clark Corporation (NYSE:KMB) heads the list, having been positive during Thanksgiving week every year over the past 10 years. A couple other personal care stocks made the list, including Church & Dwight Co., Inc. (NYSE:CHD) and Clorox Co (NYSE: CLX).


Finally, here is the list of stocks which have performed the worst during Thanksgiving week over the past ten years. Energy companies dominate this list.



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