Friday, November 28, 2008

This is a Mid-cap Rally

So is this the Santa clause/year-end/super-bear rally we've been waiting for? The S&P 500 has just gained 18% in the past five trading days. "Does it have legs," ask fund managers everywhere who are suffering from performance-anxiety attacks.

Well, we're currently in what I call a mid-cap rally, where mid-cap stocks outperform small-cap and large-cap stocks. Last time the mid-caps led the market we had a 70-day rally from March to May 2008.

Some say that the March rally had legs because it kicked off with a Lowry's 90-90 day on March 19th. However, the October rally had two 90-90 days on Oct 13th and Oct 28th; that rally turned out to be short-lived, lasting only 3 weeks. Clearly, 90-90 day was not the answer.

I recorded all the bear market rallies lasting longer than 1 day from both the 2000-2002 bear and the current bear.

Start End Length (days)
Leadership (overall)
10/10/2008 10/13/2008 3 Large-cap
7/23/2002 8/23/2002 31 Large-cap
2/6/2008 2/26/2008 20 Mid-cap
11/26/2007 12/10/2007 14 Mid-cap
3/10/2008 5/19/2008 70 Mid-cap
4/6/2001 5/18/2001 42 Mid-cap
10/27/2008 11/4/2008 8 Small-cap
1/22/2008 2/1/2008 10 Small-cap
7/15/2008 8/11/2008 27 Small-cap
10/17/2008 10/20/2008 3 Small-cap
12/17/2007 12/26/2007 9 Small-cap

Average large-cap bear market rally = 17 days
Average mid-cap bear market rally = 36.5 days
Average small-cap bear market rally = 11.4 days

It appears that the average mid-cap rally lasts longer than the average large-cap or small-cap rally. Does someone have an explanation for why mid-cap rallies last longer? Otherwise, it could simply be a case of curve fitting.

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