Preparing for an Independence Day Rally

June and July typically do not have the best reputations when it comes to upside for stocks, but astute investors can capture gains over the next several days if a long-standing seasonal trend holds true.

“From 1950 to 2013, the market has delivered a positive returns 72% of the time during the last two days of June the first five days of July, according to Brooke Thackray, a research analyst with Horizons ETFs and the author of Thackray’s Seasonal Investment Guide.

Thackray’s 2014 Investor’s Guide notes that two of the better sector opportunities in July could be gold and energy, though defensive sectors tend to come into favor later in the month. The Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLE) is one of the top-performing sector ETFs this year and no sector fund has brought in more new assets in 2014 than XLE. [Demand for Energy ETFs Soars]

This period of July is usually one of the strongest periods of the year for the market after January,” according to Horizons. “By Mid-July, seasonal investors should probably be looking for the exits and moving to a more defensive position such as call writing or even cash, as the market enters into a period of seasonal weakness.”