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Lame duck presidents are bad for stocks

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Editor's Note: Jeffrey A. Hirsch is editor-in-chief of the "Stock Trader's Almanac," which popularized the "sell in May" market strategy.

This has been the worst start to a year on record, triggering bearish warning signs on several of our New Year seasonal indicators.

There have been few places to hide, barely any respite and little solace. With our "Santa Claus Rally" and "First Five Days Early Warning System" in the red and the Dow's December closing low violated, a positive reading from our full-month January Barometer would go a long way in improving the prospects for the year.

But there is no doubt about it, the market is on shaky ground, and the odds of further downside are increasing.

Apart from fears over a slowdown in China, an oil meltdown and global violence and turmoil, President Barack Obama's rhetoric in his final State of the Union Address did little to quell investors' concerns; in fact they appear to have fanned the flames.

About the only positive catalyst, from a contrary perspective that is, is increased pessimistic sentiment and bearish market calls up and down Wall Street.

Way back in early June 2015, when I put the Stock Trader's Almanac 2016 to bed and sent it off to the publisher, I warned that my outlook for 2016 was less than sanguine and that there was a low probability for substantial gains in 2016.

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