Unexpectedly Intriguing!
04 November 2016

Over the past eight trading days, the S&P 500 is doing something highly unusual in having declined in value from the previous day's closing value in each of those days. How unusual can be seen in the following chart that we first presented last year as we mapped out the S&P 500's losing streaks since 3 January 1950.

Number of Two or More Consecutively Down Days for the S&P 500, 4 January 1950 through 7 August 2015

Before this week, we see that since 3 January 1950, the S&P 500 has had losing streaks run eight trading days or longer some 21 times, with 10 of those streaks lasting exactly eight days before the index finally recorded an up day to break its losing streak.

We built the following tool to estimate the odds of that happening and also the likelihood that the S&P 500 might extend its current streak to nine consecutive trading days in a row. If you're accessing this tool on a site that republishes our RSS news feed, just click through to our site to access a working version....

S&P 500 Streak Duration
Input Data Values
Number of Consecutively Up or Down Days

Odds of Streak Occurring
Calculated Results Values
Odds of Streak [1 in ...]
Odds that it's a Winning Streak [1 in ...]
Odds that it's a Losing Streak [1 in ...]
Odds of Streak Lasting One More Day [1 in ...]

We find that for the S&P 500 to have fallen in each of the previous eight days, the approximate odds of it having done so are 1 in 1,262.

The odds of a losing streak in the S&P 500 lasting for eight days isn't quite as unlikely as it may appear - it's actually a bit more likely than the odds that an American will die in a year from any accident or injury (1 in 1,656).

But for it to go nine days in a row would be a 1 in 2,583 event. And there is roughly a 1 in 2 chance that it will happen.

As for why, while recent reporting has focused on "U.S. election nerves" as a contributing factor, there may also be more fundamental factors at work.

Cumulative Number of Dividend Cuts Announced in the U.S. by Day of Quarter, 2016 Q1 vs Q2 vs Q3 vs Q4, Snapshot 2016-11-03

Compare this chart to the previous version we showed just four days ago.

We don't know yet if the sudden increase in the number of dividend cuts announced during the first three days of November 2016 is simply noise or if there's more to it. The cumulative number of dividend cuts announced since 2016-Q4 began however does point to cause for concern.

As for which companies have announced dividend cuts in November 2016, our real-time sampling of dividend declarations indicates that it is a pretty broad based list in terms of affected industries: HCP (NYSE: HCP), New York REIT (NYSE: NYRT), Horizon Tech Finance (NYSE: HRZN), Sturm Ruger (NYSE: RGR), Melco Crown Entertainment (NASDAQ: MPEL), Teekay Tankers (NYSE: TNK), Sabine Royalty Trust (NYSE: SBR), First Mid-Illinois Bancshares (NYSE: FMBH), Terra Nitrogen (NYSE: TNH).

The market will bear close watching over the next several weeks.

Previously on Political Calculations

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About Political Calculations

Welcome to the blogosphere's toolchest! Here, unlike other blogs dedicated to analyzing current events, we create easy-to-use, simple tools to do the math related to them so you can get in on the action too! If you would like to learn more about these tools, or if you would like to contribute ideas to develop for this blog, please e-mail us at:

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