With an eye on 13 years of precedent, Wall Street is rooting for a Redskins victory in Super Bowl XVII.
That's because, by virtually all broad stock market barometers, years featuring Super Bowl victories by original National Football League teams--like the Washington Redskins--have also been positive years for the stock market.
In each of the six years when an original American Football League team has won the professional football title, the Standard & Poor's index of 400 industrials has fallen for the full calendar year. Likewise, in each year that an original NFL team has won the championship, the S&P 400 has risen.
Furthermore, only once--when the Kansas City Chiefs upset the Minnesota Vikings 23 to 7 in 1970's Super Bowl and another index, the S&P 500, fell by 0.1 percent--has that measure failed to keep pace with the market's football indicator. Each time an original NFL team won, the S&P 500 has gained.
NFL victories and the movements of Dow Jones' industrial average, the blue-chip-stock gauge, have failed to coincide just twice--once in 1970 and a second time in 1978, when the Dallas Cowboys won the Super Bowl and the industrials fell by 3.1 percent.
"The odds are almost prohibitive," chortles William LeFevre, vice president for investment strategy at Purcell, Graham & Co. Inc., a leading chronicler of what he calls "The Super Bowl Stock Market Predictor Theory."
"Listen, last year we were rooting for San Francisco, and that worked out just fine. This works a lot better than the hemline theory," he noted, referring to another equally sophisticated tool, which links market behavior to the rising or falling of skirt styles.