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IF THE BULLS AND THE BEARS HAVE YOU BUFFALOED, TRY OUR FOXY FORMULAS
Leonard Koppett
April 23, 1979
The theory that cycles of sunspots can be related to the ups and downs of the stock market has been kicked around by economists for about half a century, but with inconclusive results. However, data accumulated over the last 15 years indicate that baseball batting averages and the results of Super Bowl football games are excellent guides to stock fluctuations.
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April 23, 1979

If The Bulls And The Bears Have You Buffaloed, Try Our Foxy Formulas

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THE BASEBALL CONNECTION

YEAR

BATTING AVERAGE

CHANGE

**STOCKS

1965

.246

*Down

Up

1966

.248

Up

Down

1967

.243

Down

Up

1968

.237

Down

Up

1969

.248

Up

Down

1970

.254

Up

Down

1971

.250

Down

Up

1972

.244

Down

Up

1973

.257

Up

Down

1974

.257

Unchanged

Down

1975

.258

Up

Up

1976

.256

Down

Up

1977

.264

Up

Down

1978

.258

Down

Up

*from .251

THE FOOTBALL CONNECTION

YEAR

SUPER BOWL WINNER

ORIGINAL LEAGUE

**STOCKS

1967

Green Bay

National

Up

1968

Green Bay

National

Up

1969

N.Y. Jets

American

Down

1970

Kansas City

American

Down

1971

Baltimore

National

Up

1972

Dallas

National

Up

1973

Miami

American

Down

1974

Miami

American

Down

1975

Pittsburgh

National

Up

1976

Pittsburgh

National

Up

1977

Oakland

American

Down

1978

Dallas

National

Up

1979

Pittsburgh

National

?????

**Standard & Poor Index of 500 Stocks.

The theory that cycles of sunspots can be related to the ups and downs of the stock market has been kicked around by economists for about half a century, but with inconclusive results. However, data accumulated over the last 15 years indicate that baseball batting averages and the results of Super Bowl football games are excellent guides to stock fluctuations.

The Baseball Connection—when batting averages go up, the market goes down, and vice versa—has held true for an impressive 12 of the last 14 years. And the Football Connection has a perfect record, 12 for 12. This theory says that when the Super Bowl winner is a team that was originally a member of the NFL, the market goes up; when it's a team that started in the AFL, the market goes down. Thus, as soon as the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys qualified for the Super Bowl last Jan. 7, you could be sure the winner would be an original NFL team, and you should have bought stock, feeling confident that the market index in December 1979 would be higher than it was in December 1978.

No one has offered an explanation for the football pattern, even though a 100% correlation over a 12-year period, with an 11-month lead time in each case, seems a lot more attractive than some of the more orthodox formulas for investment decisions. But a deduction has been advanced for the baseball correlation, which has proved only 86% accurate. It goes this way: when the stock market goes down, batters stand in there a little tougher against the curveball.

This reasoning is based on the fact that, by the nature of the tasks involved, a major league batter needs more day-in, day-out motivation than a pitcher. Pitchers don't compete every day, and when they do, they are the center of the action and already in a high state of concentration. Besides, a pitcher needs no extra physical courage once he accepts the risk that a ball may be hit back at him.

For batters it's different. The natural instinct to dodge a high-speed missile aimed at one's head or body is a handicap that every batter must overcome. It's quite possible a batter overcomes it more thoroughly when he knows his non-baseball investments are going down, and feels a little smug and self-protective when they are going up. And his batting average (as distinct from key hits in dramatic situations) reflects his ability to generate repeated and consistent concentration.

Such a theory assumes that most players have money invested. Since the middle of the '60s, this is probably true, both as a general pattern (there has been a nationwide increase in small investors) and specifically (athletes' salaries, needless to say, have risen dramatically).

That assumption implies that the situation was different before the '60s, and history offers some support for this idea. In the 20 years or so preceding 1965, the yearly-averages for the stock market and for batters show just random fluctuation. But between 1920 and 1930, another era in American life when "everybody" was "in the market." the batting-up stocks-down correlation held true seven times in 11 years. In the years 1931-41, during the Depression and on into World War II, the theory held true only twice in 11 years.

What does all this really indicate?

Perhaps only that you can pick a Super Bowl winner by studying the sunspots.

Consider these tables:

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