If the so-called Super Bowl Indicator holds true this year—like it has almost 80 percent of the time—then stock investors should be rooting for a New York Giants victory over the New England Patriots this Sunday.
The Super Bowl indicator is based on the belief that if a team from the National Football Conference (NFC) or an original National Football League (pre-1970 AFL merger) team wins, the stock market will turn in significant gains for the year. Meanwhile, an AFC win indicates a negative year for the market.
Historically, the indicator has been correct 35 of the last 45 years, or 78 percent of the time on the S&P 500, on a total return basis, according to Silverblatt, Senior Index Analyst, Standard & Poor’s.
The indicator held true last year when Green Bay Packers (NFC) beat the Pittsburgh Steelers (AFC). The S&P climbed 2.11 percent for the year on a total return basis (but still finished lower by a hair on a stock appreciation basis).
“From an analytical side, it’s harder to prove rationally based on our knowledge, but statistically, [the numbers are] there!” said Silverblatt.
Ironically, the last time the indicator broke its accuracy streak was in 2008 when the Giants won against the Patriots. While a win by the Giants should have translated into a positive year, the market still saw their greatest loss since the Great Depression.
So what do these numbers mean for this weekend's game and how much should investors trust this odd indicator?
“Absolutely zero—and 100 percent,” said Silverblatt.. “Investors should be realizing that this can’t be correct. It’s a statistical fluke. But on the other hand, it’s 78 percent! If my broker was correct 78 percent, I would be retired by now!”
Interestingly, trends also indicated that the Dow and the S&P 500 post gains in the month following a Super Bowl game played either by the Giants or the Patriots (and regardless of whether they win or lose).
When the Giants played in a Super Bowl game, the Dow and S&P climbed 2.5 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively, while when the Patriots played, the gains were 3.2 percent and 2.2 percent each.
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