The Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF (VAS) is up 4% this month, is it too late to buy for a Santa rally?

Is it too late to invest?

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The Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF (ASX: VAS) is an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that has had a strong start to November, rising by around 4% this month.

For readers who don't know what this ASX ETF does, it gives investors exposure to the S&P/ASX 300 Index (ASX: XKO), which is an index of 300 of the largest businesses on the ASX. There are names in the portfolio like BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA), Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW) and Telstra Group Ltd (ASX: TLS).

The VAS ETF can give investors a well-diversified mix of holdings across different sectors of the Australian economy.

Is it too late to invest?

One of the great things about investing in ASX shares is that there is a large volume of trading each day. We can always buy shares if we want to, even if they have risen.

Volatility is normal for shares because each day there are trades made up of different buyers and sellers, who are transacting for different reasons and may have a different view of what the share is worth.

While the VAS ETF is up 4% in November so far, that shouldn't be viewed in isolation, as we can see on the chart below.

It's still down 4% since the start of September 2023, so it still represents a cheaper price than earlier this year. Using the unit price as a guide, it's definitely not too late to invest.

In fact, today could be one of the better days to invest in 2023 if we compare today's price to where it has been over the rest of the year.

Even if there are some ups and downs in the shorter term, just remember that investors can continue to receive pleasing dividend income. According to Vanguard, the dividend yield for the VAS ETF at the end of September 2023 was 4.2%, excluding franking credits.

Will there be a Santa rally?

I don't know, my crystal ball isn't working for some reason.

There is no rule that says the share market always goes up in December. Indeed, the end of December was a low point in 2022 for the Betashares Nasdaq 100 ETF (ASX: NDQ), an ETF invested in many of the largest US businesses.

Keep in mind that over the ultra-long term, the share market has risen. Not every month, or every year, will see growth, but over time we have seen markets rise. To me, that means that there's a decent chance that any particular month will see a rise, not just December.

Just look at how it has performed since July 2009. There are certainly some periods of decline, but the long-term trend has been positive. Those moments, in hindsight, seem like buying opportunities.

If there is a large decline in the next 12 months, I'd likely call that an opportunity. However, I'd rather buy individual ASX shares that could produce even stronger returns.

Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended BetaShares Nasdaq 100 ETF. The Motley Fool Australia has positions in and has recommended BetaShares Nasdaq 100 ETF and Telstra Group. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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