Seasons have little effect on stock market

"Sell in May come back St Ledger day" (10 September) is an old proverb used in the City of London and reflects a popular view that share investments tend to underperform in the summer.

However, research from F&C investments tracking moves in the FTSE 100 shows that there have been four "up" summers and six "down" summers. The average rise in the "up" summers has been 9.67 per cent, while the average fall in the "down" summers has been 9.15 per cent. In other words, recent history has shown that the FTSE 100 is pretty much as likely to rise as it is to fall over the summer.

"Even the finest investment brains cannot accurately time the market with any certainty, which is why equity investment is viewed as a long-term pursuit. By staying invested – and even better, by investing regularly to take advantage of short-term dips in the market – investors may expose themselves to the worst days, but they equally will not miss out on the best days," said Jason Hollands, head of corporate affairs at F&C.

So far this year, despite the Japanese earthquake and continued unrest in the Middle East the FTSE 100 index has risen by more than 3 per cent and regularly topped the 6,000 mark.