401(k) investors could profit from traditional post-Thanksgiving stock rally – USA TODAY

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Wishbone, one of two turkeys President Donald Trump will officially pardon Tuesday, got a special tour of the White House before the big event. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders brought the bird into the briefing room to meet the press. (Nov. 21) AP

401(k) investors, already thankful for the sizable stock market gains in 2017, may also benefit from a post-Turkey Day rally on Wall Street.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that usually shines a lasting glow on investors saving for retirement and other goals.

The stock market has a habit of going up after Thanksgiving and finishing the year strongly. Since 1945, the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index has risen nearly 2% from Thanksgiving to the end of the year. That return has increased to 2.14% since the 2009 bull market began.

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“Statistically and historically, this is the best time to invest,” Louis Navellier, a money manager at Navellier Associates, noted. “The holidays are a happy time of year and that positive sentiment typically launches a healthy year-end rally in the stock market.”

It’s already been a bullish year for stock investors. The large-company S&P 500 index is up about 16%, driven higher by strong corporate earnings, a slow pace of interest-rate increases and anticipation of a tax cut plan that is seen boosting economic growth and corporate profitability.

Early projections are for more gains in 2018, according to two Wall Street strategists that have unveiled their predictions for the New Year. That outlook comes despite a market that is trading at above-average prices relative to corporate earnings, and which hasn’t suffered a fall of more than 5% since June 2016.

Brian Belski, chief investment strategist at BMO Capital Markets, sees the S&P 500 finishing next year at 2950, or more than 13% above its current level. Belski expects 2018 to look a lot like this year, with stocks being pushed higher by a still-expanding economy, continued strength in corporate profits, a cautious Federal Reserve, as well as the possible benefits of a corporate tax cut.

Goldman Sachs’ U.S. equity strategist, David Kostin, sees the S&P 500 climbing nearly 10% next year from current levels. His bullish call assumes “tax reform passes,” which he expects. If it doesn’t, he says the market could fall about 5% from current levels. 

“The bull market will continue in 2018,” Kostin wrote in his 2018 outlook.

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The S&P 500 is up 21% since Election Day. Time

 

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