File this under “any excuse for a stock market crash.”
In addition to watching the eclipse through a pinhole or safe glasses today, I’ll be watching the stock market for impact on local companies, and for the next three days.
Yes, there’s actually a theory that stock market crashes coincide with solar eclipses. Lots of people refer to it as the “Puetz Crash Window” after Hawaii statistician Steve Puetz.
Bloomberg and other outlets have written this up in the past week: Puetz found that stock market crashes have happened frequently around the time of an eclipse — from six days prior to three days after.
From what I’ve read, the only real impact to stocks or companies during an eclipse is a minor dip in productivity as people take a day or a few hours off to watch it. There’s a few other small blips that could happen, like cellphone networks getting overwhelmed if people are trying to upload videos and photos in the path. But there’s also an upside — a lot of people traveling and spending money today.
As of Monday mid-morning, the Dow Jones was down a fraction of a percentage — about -.4 to -.2 percent when I looked — but there’s nothing unusual about that. Companies with a big Orlando presence showed a completely mixed bag: Disney and Darden were up .36 percent and .95 percent, respectively. SeaWorld and Lockheed were down, -3.87 percent and -.19 percent. Toward 11:30 a.m., the Dow turned positive.
But the stock market is vulnerable to psychological or even superstitious perspective. Exhibit One for that phenomenon is the “animal spirits” idea, which some economists said were unleashed by the election of President Donald Trump. That theory held that Trump’s bullish talk on the U.S. economy, and his emphasis on lowering taxes and regulation, created the expectation of growth and the end of negative economic thinking.
If you subscribe to the idea that the recent boom market is overdue for a big correction, an eclipse could be a trigger or an excuse. There was already a decline in the markets of more than one percent on Thursday, after the terrorist attack in Barcelona.
At the same time, it doesn’t take an economist to observe that a market fall can lead to a bigger drop, or to a buying spree.
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