Monday, Bloody Monday

By Derek Simon | October 08, 2008 AAA

I admit it; I love obscure facts and statistics, especially really strange ones. Take, for example, some of the nuggets I recently unearthed on Stunning-Stuff.com:

  • In 1987, American Airlines (NYSE:AMR) saved $40,000 by eliminating one olive from each salad in first class.
  • Left-handed people have slightly shorter life spans than right-handed people.
  • An ant, when intoxicated, will always fall over to its right side.
  • Topless saleswomen are legal in Liverpool, England, but only in tropical fish stores.

Whether these items are true or not is open to debate. Certainly, I am not one who blindly believes everything I read, but still, the stunning-stuff list inspired me. So, while planning a family vacation to Liverpool, England to shop for tropical fish this weekend, I got to thinking about the seemingly inordinate number of bad trading days that have occurred on Monday. Is it just my imagination, or does the start of the workweek inspire more selling than other days?

Another Reason To Hate Mondays
Here's what I found out:


Average Daily Percentage Gain/Loss
Index Data Range Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri
Dow 10/01/28
to
10/06/08
-0.07% 0.04% 0.08% 0.03% 0.05%
Nasdaq 02/05/71
to
10/06/08
-0.13% -0.02% 0.12% 0.11% 0.10%

Wow. Not only does it appear that Monday is, indeed, a bad day to be a stockholder - the exact opposite seems to hold true for Wednesday. Given that simple averages are often distorted by extreme data, however, let's take a look at the median gains and losses as well:


Median Daily Percentage Gain/Loss
Index Data Range Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri
Dow 10/01/28
to
10/06/08
-0.02% 0.03% 0.07% 0.04% 0.07%
Nasdaq 02/05/71
to
10/06/08
-0.07% 0.02% 0.18% 0.17% 0.18%

Eureka!
As anticipated, Monday's numbers look a little healthier, but they're still negative. In fact, by digging a little deeper, one discovers that six of the nine worst percentage declines on both the Dow and Nasdaq took place on a Monday. (Want to learn more about the Dow? Then take a gander at Calculating The Dow Jones Industrial Average.)

Now, the reason for this is anybody's guess - I don't know why Richard Simmons insists on wearing that same pair of silk shorts everywhere he goes either, but I'm not losing any sleep over it (OK, maybe a little).

News You Can Use
The important thing is using this data to one's best advantage. To illustrate what I mean, let's take a peek at some of last week's Dow dogs like Citigroup (NYSE:C), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), IBM (NYSE:IBM), Home Depot (NYSE:HD) and Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT).

By purchasing these issues at their closing prices on Sept. 26, and holding them through Tuesday's final bell, one would have lost an average of 17.38% of their hard-earned cash or ill-gotten booty. If, on the other hand, an investor had waited to buy until the market closed on Sept. 29 (thereby skipping Monday) and sold at session's end on Friday (bypassing Monday once again), the equity loss would have amounted to just 0.71%.

To me, it's another argument for three-day weekends.

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