S&P 500 and Gold Miners Rotation System/Strategy

Last Updated on October 16, 2021 by Oddmund Groette

The stock market has a strong seasonality from October to May, while gold and gold stocks outperform the rest of the months. Can this be used to construct a tradeable S&P 500 and gold miners rotation strategy?

In this article, we look at the performance of being invested in the S&P 500 from October until May and rotate to gold mining stocks from May until the end of September. This rotation strategy outperforms buying and holding the S&P 500 by a wide margin, but the best years were prior to the GFC in 2008/09.

S&P 500 seasonalities:

We have covered the strong seasonal tendency for the S&P 500 to accumulate all gains over the last 60 years from October until the end of April.

Opposite, the gold price and gold miners, which often go in the opposite direction of the stock market, have performed well during the summer doldrums of the S&P 500.

Both of these two seasonalities are no outliers. They have been consistent for decades. However, there is no guarantee it will continue.

Previous rotation strategies:

Before we go on to backtest the S&P 500/gold miners rotation strategy, we want to give a humble reminder of the previous rotation strategies we have published free of charge:

Rotation strategy between the S&P 500 and gold miners

We test our rotation strategy by using data from Yahoo!finance: ^gspc for the S&P 500 and FSAGX as a proxy for the gold miners.

FSAGX is the ticker code for the Fidelity mutual fund that invests in gold mining stocks. We use this as a proxy because we get access to data back to 1985. We have no idea if FSAGX is a useful trading vehicle. Commissions and fees might make it useless for trading, so it only serves as an example in this article.

We also remind you that ^gspc is not adjusted for dividends and thus underrates the performance of stocks because it omits dividend reinvestments which is a crucial component for compounding great long-term results.

The current main holdings in Fidelity’s gold mining fund are these:

Newmont Corp NEM 15.22%
Barrick Gold Corp ABX.TO 11.55%
Franco-Nevada Corp FNV.TO 9.82%
Wheaton Precious Metals Corp WPM.TO 6.75%
Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd AEM.TO 5.59%
Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd KL.TO 4.03%
Northern Star Resources Ltd NST.AX 3.73%
Zijin Mining Group Co Ltd Class H 02899 3.44%
Kinross Gold Corp K.TO 3.24%
Evolution Mining Ltd EVN.AX 2.71%

We backtest the following:

  1. At the close of September, we buy the S&P 500 (^gspc).
  2. We hold the S&P 500 until the first day of May and we sell on the open.
  3. At the open in May, we invest in FSAGX (this is a fund so, in reality, you need to buy at the close of April).
  4. We own FSAGX until the last day of September when we sell on the open of October.
  5. Rinse and repeat every year from 1985 until June 2021.

The equity curve looks like this:

We start with 100 000 and let it compound for 35 years. The CAGR is 12.3% and the max drawdown is 59% (in GFC 2008/09). The CAGR is better than the 10% dividend reinvested return for the S&P 500. Bear in mind that the CAGR of the strategy is higher if we had reinvested the dividends.


If you want the code for the above strategy plus 60+ others of the free strategies we have presented on this page, click here:

Disclosure: We are not financial advisors. Please do your own due diligence and investment research or consult a financial professional. All articles are our opinions – they are not suggestions to buy or sell any securities.