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The Unluckiest Day To Buy Shares?

In 1990, there were two. In 1993 there was just one. In 1998 there were three. But never has there been a year when there were four. And there has never been a year when there was none.

What on earth could I possibly be referring to?

The answer is Friday the 13th. Since 1990 there have been a total of 43 days when the 13th day of the calendar month fell on a Friday. Today is one of those days. Yikes!

It is a day that is feared by so many that there is even a name for it. It is called paraskevidekatriaphobia.

Some people think that it is unlucky to do almost anything on Friday the 13th. So they don’t.

In fact, there are some people who believe that it is not a good day to buy shares. But science and the power of the spread sheet would suggest otherwise.

On the 37 separate occasions when Friday 13th was also a trading day, shares did quite well. On 22 of those “inauspicious” days, the Straits Times Index (SGX: ^STI) made headway. On the other 15 occasions, stocks fell.

The best Friday the 13th in the last 15 years happened in March 2009. The benchmark index rose 84 points or 5.6% that day. Some of the best performers included Singapore Exchange (SGX: S68), DBS Group (SGX: D05) and Jardine Cycle & Carriage (SGX: C07).

The worst Friday the 13th since 1990 occurred in February 1998. The Straits Times Index fell 48 points or 3%. Some of the worst performers were Keppel Corporation (SGX: BN4), Jardine Matheson (SGX: J36) and Jardine Strategic (SGX: J37).

Interestingly, if you had bought shares on that “unlucky” day, you would have done quite well. Since 13 February 1990, the Straits Times Index has risen 117%.

What’s more, since that “fateful” day, Keppel Corporation has delivered a total annual return of 15%; Jardine Matheson has returned 21% and Jardine Strategic has returned 18%. Or put another way, S$1,000 invested in each of those three companies would have turned into over S$50,000 after 17 years.

Is that luck or skill? Actually it is neither. It is just called knowing a good company when you see one.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore Director David Kuo doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.