This is the first year I’ve seen The Harriman Stock Market Almanac by Stephen Eckett, although its first edition was published in Great Britain in 2004. This is the tenth edition. (Yes, I do know how to subtract. It seems that the almanac wasn’t put out every year.)
Although clearly inspired by the American Stock Trader’s Almanac, now in its fiftieth year, the British almanac has some unique features that make it particularly valuable.
First, the calendar section includes daily historical data for the FTSE 100 (from 1984), FTSE 250 (from 1985), S&P 500 (from 1950), and NIKKEI (from 1984). For each of these indexes the almanac provides three numbers (Sinclair Numbers) for every trading day, week, and month of the year: (1) the proportion of returns that were positive, (2) the average change, and (3) the standard deviation of the returns.
Second, the almanac looks at quite a few trading strategies, some nonsensical (like the Super Bowl indicator), some most likely coincidental (like the market rising sharply between lunar eclipses occurring in consecutive months), some producing inconsistent results (odd and even week returns). Others might have some merit, or at least trigger further ideas for testing: the FTSE 100/S&P 500 monthly switching strategy, the quarterly sector strategy, and the bounceback portfolio.
Oh, and if you didn’t know the conclusion of the adage “Sell in May and go away,” it’s “don’t come back till St Leger Day.” The St Leger is “the last big event of the UK horse-racing calendar and usually takes place in mid-September.”
The Harriman Stock Market Almanac is hardbound, which means that, unlike its American counterpart, it doesn’t open up flat. Even so, it’s going to be my desk “calendar” for 2017. Time for a change, for a more global outlook.
The Almanac is a unique reference work providing traders and investors with the data to tackle the markets in the year ahead.
The main section consists of 52 weekly articles focusing on a range of strategies based on original seasonality analysis. These are supplemented with facts, figures and trivia unique to the Almanac. This is an extremely valuable and informative companion to the financial year, making the Almanac the one essential book for the serious trader or investor.
The Almanac consists of three main sections:
1. Day-to-day financial data
Data and statistics
Each page of this section includes key financial dates including: important economic releases, derivative contract expiries, exchange holidays, and company results expected that week. The pages also feature the results of a unique study of the historic performance of the market for each day and week of the year – the Sinclair Numbers.
Each page of the diary is accompanied by an original, informative and entertaining article. These cover studies of trends and anomalies, seasonality analysis, momentum effects, sector performance, arbitrage opportunities, FTSE Index reviews, as well as the results of some more unusual and eye-opening research.
A collection of articles featuring statistical analysis of UK stock market data and more wide-ranging topics than the Diary. Exclusive to the Almanac, sector, weekly and daily market performance analysis data is included.
The Reference section includes background information about UK and international stock indices. Topics covered include basic facts about the market, trade codes, a timetable of the trading day and a look at the original constituents of the FT 30 of 1935 and the FTSE 100 of 1984.