So far, U.S. stocks have been gripped with volatility ahead of a contentious presidential election. Over the past month, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: SPY), Vanguard 500 Index (NYSEArca: VOO) and iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: IVV) have declined 3.2% while the SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (NYSEArca: DIA) fell 1.7%.
The recent pullback is no big surprise as the equities markets are notoriously wary of uncertainty, including political risk, which tends to depress overall returns.
During presidential election years going back to 1928, the S&P 500 index has been positive 73% of the time, or 16 out of 22 years, with an average price gain of 7%, compared to the 7.4% gain for the index during all years, writes FactSet research analyst Andrew Birstingl.[related_stories]
When a Democrat wins, the S&P 500 was up for the year 58% of the time, or seven of 12 years, with an average price increase of 3.3%. When a Republican is elected, the index was up 90% of the time or nine of 10 years, with an average price gain of 11.4%.