The Easter festival was celebrated this past w/e and the western world went into holiday mode.
The Easter tradition was started for obvious reasons in the western calendar at the time of Christ’s death around 30 AD but the festival is celebrated around the Christian world at this time of year.
We’ve taken a look at the various market data as regards Easter and its impact on markets below
But first a quick peek at some of the more unusual Easter traditions around the world.
Bermuda- in Bermuda it’s all about kite flying as a way to symbolize Christ rising from his grave and ascending to Heaven…
These are special Easter kites that can take weeks for the people to design and create. Once the big day is upon them, the kites are flown high into the sky to symbolize the Ascension. At the end of the day, awards are handed out for the best-made kites in a multitude of different categories. After all of the fun and games, the kites are put away or dismantled. Since the whole point of the tradition is to make your own kite, there is no reason to fly it twice.
Florence- While Bermuda is busy perfecting its kites, the people of Florence, Italy are involved in a tradition of a more destructive kind, namely dragging a candle through the city on a massive cart that has been in use for well over three hundred years. After it reaches its destination, the fire is then carried to the cathedral square by clerics and city officials while the cart is loaded with fireworks. When everything is ready, a fuse is placed on the high alter inside the cathedral with a fake dove tied to the end.
The fake dove is then set ablaze by the Cardinal of Florence. As the fuse burns down to the cart in the cathedral square, the bells of Giotto’s campanile ring out to signify that the show is about to start. What follows is twenty minutes of nonstop explosions in the city’s cathedra. If everything goes according to plan, then the fireworks signify a year of good harvests and successful business for the people of the city.
And how about France?- Well, they have Silent Saturday. On the days leading up to Easter, the churches in France will stop ringing their bells as a sign of remembrance to the passing of Jesus. The explanation told to children is that the bells have stopped ringing because they have actually come out of their towers to fly to Rome to see the Pope. When the bells return to France, they drop coloured eggs and bundles of candy for all of the children to enjoy.
Turning to financial markets, April is in fact traditionally the strongest month of the year historically going back to 1950 and seasonally the equity markets are at their strongest January to April…if you had invested $1000 on 1 Jan every year and sold it on 30 April and bought back on 01 November each year then over the last 100 years you’d have done considerably better than a buy and hold strategy according to statistically evidence-based studies.
However Easter itself is tricky to trade and we think that a better strategy is to take a check on current valuation which in our view makes for a certain caution in our thinking short term given the strong run markets have had and guard against some possible volatility.
As for us at South River we continue to run a broadly diversified investment strategy and the funds have generally performed well 2019 to date with the Cautious funds up between 1.5% and 4% and the Diversified and Dynamic multi asset funds having returned between 8% and 12% this year and showing a 34% return (GBP) over three years to April 2019.
And finally, one additional custom brought to us we thought by the French in medieval times, the Easter bunny, was not brought to us by the French as previously thought. It was in fact the Romans, who not only gave us aqueducts, roads and public health as well as excellent Italian wine but it has now emerged that the humble British bunny was not as was previously thought a lapin imported from its native France in the Middle Ages but had arrived 1000 years before…
A discovery in the great Roman villa in Fishbourne West Sussex confirmed the remains and dated them back to the first century AD.