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It's Friday the 13th. Are you scared of the market?



By Dian Vujovich

No doubt about it, today is Friday the 13th and what kind of trading day on Wall Street it will be is anybody’s guess. Given that this week stocks have lost ground and the gains acquired thus far this year erased, I’d say that staying above 10,000 would make for a good day.

If you plan on remaining at home tucked under the covers for the day and away from stock trading, you’ll probably one of the 20 million or so who suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia. Investors or not, it’s estimated that folks with the phobia aren’t spenders on this day as reportedly millions of dollars have been lost because it’s not a business-as-usual for people with the fear of Friday and the number 13.

A little history: Frigga, means “Friday” and in Norse mythology was the name given to a free-spirited goddess of love and fertility. Of course eventually she had her wings clipped, was banished to a mountaintop and turned into witch. The story goes that to get even, she, along with 11 other witches plus the devil -bringing the number of gatherers to 13—would meet on Friday’s to plan the nasties they were going to pull the following week. (There’s nothing like a woman’s wrath.)

Even though both Friday and the number 13 have at times been considered lucky, be of a superstitious mind and that’s not the case.

As for how that day impacts Wall Street, Friday the 13th has proved to be fickle—just as the markets always have been and always will be.

According to my fav market researcher Gary Alexander, between 1982 and 1999 there have been 46 Friday the 13th trading days—31 of them were positive for market indices.

“Basically, when we’re in a bull market, Friday the 13th becomes exceptionally lucky, ” writes Alexander in this week’s Navellier newsletter. “During the 1990s bull market, stocks rose 13 times (vs. 3 down days) on Friday the 13th. However, there were four straight declining Friday the 13th trading days from 2002 to 2004, as the big bear market of 2000-03 ended.”

So what’s this day likely to bring? Well, if you forget the number 13, Friday turns out to be the worst day of the week to invest according to research from “Crossing Wall Street” blog writer Ed Elfenbein.

Hum, maybe staying away from the TV, iPod and cell phone would make sense today.


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