High Holy Days Poke Holes in Portfolios

The days of awe for the world’s Jews tend to be the days of “aww” for stock-market investors of any religion.

The old Wall Street saw “sell Rosh Hashanah, buy Yom Kippur,” has been a fairly reliable pattern for U.S. stocks for half a century, according to The Stock Trader’s Almanac. It continued that run as the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 34751.32 on Thursday—a 1% fall between the Jewish New Year and the Day of Atonement, which ended at sundown. The index has now dropped 29 times since 1971 for both an average and median drop of half a percent during the span, which can sometimes end in October depending on the Jewish calendar.