Hong Kong Rugby Sevens: HSBC's Bizarre Findings
Fiji's rugby team is more likely to win when the number of female workers in Cayman Islands' service sector increases. Huh? It's as bizarre as it gets.
HSBC takes a stab at wacky correlations between the performance of the 28 teams taking part in Hong Kong's most celebrated annual three-day sporting event, the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens, and economic trends.
Released with a warning that the predictions made should be taken with "a very large pinch of salt," HSBC analysts have come up with imaginative ways to pick this year's winners.
For example, whenever powerhouses Fiji and New Zealand meet in the final of the Hong Kong leg of this nine-nation world series, the world shakes - literally. Since 1984, 12 of these contests have happened in years when there are major earthquakes and hurricanes in other parts of the world, according to HSBC. Fiji is this year's defending champion.
According to Herald Van der Linde, head of equity strategy, Asia-Pacific at HSBC: "What happens during the weekend of the sevens, all these mysterious relations around the world come up and we find interesting correlations."
The HSBC report titled "Serious Play" says England's chances of winning get better when fertility rates in Nigeria go up, but fall if fertility rates in Denmark rise. Also, the bigger the increase in mobile subscribers in Africa, the greater the winning margin in the final.
If Samoa wins it could be good news for Hollywood heavyweight Tom Hanks. The years this South Pacific island has won Hanks movies have been blockbusters like in 1993 when both "Philadelphia" and "Sleepless in Seattle" were released. Again in 2007 when Samoa won, it was "Charlie Wilson's War" and in 2010 "Toy Story 3."
There are some market calls as well. Consumer company stocks perform better in the years when Fiji wins, according to HSBC. Inflationary pressures have accelerated in the first half of the year when Australia has won, while US business confidence rises in years that Samoa wins.
But Van der Linde does add a word of caution, "Sometimes there is no cause and effect. But the relationship is still there in the numbers. We might be seeing things that are not really there."
-By CNBC.com's Rajeshni Naidu-Ghelani; Follow her on Twitter