FYI: If we could only use one characteristic to describe equity market performance so far in 2019, late day strength may be the most applicable. Heading into Monday, the S&P 500 had been up in the final hour of trading for seven straight days, and over the prior five weeks, the last hour of trading saw positive returns 90% of the time! That kind of late day strength doesn’t occur all that often.
Ever since the S&P 500’s most recent low on December 24th, the intraday trading characteristics of the market have really shifted. The first chart below shows the S&P 500’s average hourly performance during the period from the 9/20/18 high through 12/24. The only time period of the day that saw any strength was the opening half hour. From 10 AM on, though, every other hour of the trading day averaged a decline, with the most weakness coming from 10 AM through 1 PM. The last hour of the trading day wasn’t particularly strong with an average decline of 0.06%.