Stock markets have been on an upward trend in the first quarter of 2023, with the S & P 500 and MSCI World Index both on track to post more than 4% in total gains. This is particularly notable as, after a year of negative returns, the S & P 500 index tends to decline during the first quarter , and the MSCI World Index fairs only marginally better. According to CNBC Pro’s analysis of stock market data on FactSet dating back to 1928, if there is a rebound in the first quarter following a down year for S & P 500, the index tends to rise only about half (55%) of the time during the second quarter. Historically, when the S & P 500 does rise under these conditions, it delivers an average return rate of just over 14%. Past performance does not necessarily predict future results, however. .SPX 1Y line Investors looking ahead may find comfort knowing that stock markets generally deliver positive returns for the year as a whole after a negative annual performance. There have been only two instances where the S & P 500 declined over two or more consecutive years: first, during the fallout from the Bretton Woods system collapse compounded by the oil crisis between 1973-74; and second, during following the dotcom crash in 2001, 2002 and 2003. Global stocks In comparison, the MSCI World Index , which captures more than 1,500 large and mid-cap stocks across 23 developed countries, has generally performed better. The index has risen 67% of the time in the second quarter following a negative year of returns bouncing off a positive first quarter. However, the index offers lower volatility compared to the S & P 500, with stocks rising or falling only by 6%. URTH 1Y mountain — MSCI derived data for the World index before 1986 by calculating how the index might have performed over that period had the index existed. Data was sourced from FactSet.