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All those big goals celebrated on the pitch during the World Cup probably won't help your stock portfolio score gains.
Investors aren't big winners when the soccer-crazed globe is tuned into every bicycle kick, 50-50 ball and red card during the big soccer tournament, historical performance data show.
From the first match to the final game in the 20 World Cups since 1930, the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index has posted an average loss of 1.01 percent, Bespoke Investment Group data show.
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"Investors should probably keep their eyes on the pitch rather than the market if they're looking for joy," quips Paul Hickey, co-founder of Bespoke.
The stock market's sub-par performance when the world's biggest soccer tournament is going on could also be a function of stock traders being more interested in the dazzling ball-handling skills of Argentina's Lionel Messi and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo than the dizzying gyrations of the Dow.
"It's the 'beautiful game' — better to watch the ball than the screen," says Joe Quinlan, chief market strategist at U.S. Trust.
The biggest market declines during the World Cup were a 7.03 percent drop at the 2002 world cup won by Brazil, a 9.12 percent fall in 1974 and a 11.86 percent drubbing in 1950, Bespoke data show.
Data suggests that traders from Wall Street in New York to the "Square Mile" in London to the Brazilian stock exchange in San Paulo are spending more time streaming World Cup games on their smartphones or peeking at play on office TVs than scanning their trading terminals for winning stocks.
Trading volume in major world stock indexes during the "knockout round" of the 2014 World Cup held in Brazil fell dramatically compared to the same period a year earlier when there were no games, according to Thomson Reuters. In the U.S., the number of shares changing hands on the S&P 500 dropped by more than 18%. The FTSE 100 in London saw a nearly 23% decline, while trading volume in Germany's DAX 30 fell 33% and Brazil's Bovespa cratered more than 70%.
The World Cup is fast-becoming "must-watch" TV that trumps business news when play is in action.
"It's as big an attention-getter as there is for Wall Street traders, and these games shift the focus from buying and selling stocks to finding out how to watch discreetly from work," says Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG, a Tokyo-based global bank with offices in New York. "The final games are so big that even the TV screens on the trading floor will be tuned to the games and away from financial news networks."
Brad McMillan, chief investment officer at Commonwealth Financial Network, takes a shot at explaining the stock-deflating phenomenon:
"What do you need for stocks to go up? You need traders, with buyers bidding the price up, getting excited," McMillan says. "But during the World Cup, all the excitement is on the field. And all the buyers are watching it rather than the ticker. (There are) no buyers, no volume, and no excitement to drive prices up."