×

Will Passover and Easter Add More "Spring" to Stocks?

Easter Eggs
Easter Eggs

As we are now into the 17th month of this recession, many investors are looking forward to the breather coming from a shortened trading week. The markets will be closed for Good Friday and many others will be taking off on Thursday for the first day of Passover.

The holidays could be a lift to chocolatiers like Hershey and privately held Mars, Inc. According to food industry tracker, Progressive Grocer, consumers are expected to purchase nearly $500 million in candy this holiday season with 70% of it in chocolate. Easter outpaces Valentine's Day in chocolate consumed with over 70 million pounds sold in the week leading up to Easter.

In addition to their chocolate sales, grocers like Kroger , Safeway and Supervalu may stand to benefit from the 61 million dozen eggs sold the week before Easter and the millions of dollars spent on Passover matzo and wine.

But will the markets continue their rally when everyone returns to work on Monday? Looking back in history, the markets have gone up after the Easter break.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average

  • 1 week after Good Friday - avg gain of .2% and up 55% of the time
  • 1 month after Good Friday - avg gain of .7% and up 61% of the time
  • 3 months after Good Friday - avg gain of 1.5% and up 54% of the time
  • 6 months after Good Friday - avg gain of 2.1% and up 60% of the time

The S&P 500

  • 1 week after Good Friday - avg gain of .1% and up 56% of the time
  • 1 month after Good Friday - avg gain of .6% and up 59% of the time
  • 3 months after Good Friday - avg gain of 2.3% and up 59% of the time
  • 6 months after Good Friday - avg gain of 2.2% and up 63% of the time

The NASDAQ Composite

  • 1 week after Good Friday - avg gain of .5% and up 66% of the time
  • 1 month after Good Friday - avg gain of .9% and up 63% of the time
  • 3 months after Good Friday - avg gain of 4.1% and up 71% of the time
  • 6 months after Good Friday - avg gain of 3.4% and up 63% of the time

When an index was down for the year going into Easter weekend, the results were a bit more mixed. The Dow remained flat for the next 1-3 months, but was down an average of 0.7% six months out. The S&P had average gains over 1% three and six months out, and the Nasdaq lost an average of 0.8% one month out but was up an average 1.1% by 3 months out.

Dow stocks that could use the most "Spring" this year are Citigroup , Bank of America , General Electric , and Alcoa and Caterpillar which are all down over 30% YTD.

Send comments to bythenumbers@cnbc.com