Investors should root for the 49ers this weekend

The market loves the team, offering the best returns in the years when San Francisco plays in the Super Bowl.

By MSN Money Partner Jan 16, 2014 1:09PM

Tarell Brown of the San Francisco 49ers on December 9, 2012 (© Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)By Victor Reklaitis and Tom Bemis, MarketWatch

So who ya rootin' for in the NFL playoffs this weekend?

If you're a stock-market bull, you may want to pull for the San Francisco 49ers.

The Super Bowl Indicator holds that any NFC team winning the Super Bowl is bullish for stocks. It’s worked 80 percent of the time since the Super Bowl began in 1967.  

But if you take a close look at the S.B.I.'s performance, you'll see the stock market LOVES the 49ers.

In fact, win or lose, San Francisco has been in the Super Bowl in four of the five best years for the stock market since the big game between the NFC and AFC champs began in 1967. 

The Niners' Super Bowl wins in 1985, 1989 and 1995 were followed by annual gains of 27.7 percent, 27 percent and 33.5 percent, respectively, for the Dow Jones industrials ($INDU). From 1967 to last year, only the Pittsburgh Steelers' victory in 1975 delivered a bigger advance.

Even in 2013, when San Francisco lost to the Baltimore Ravens, the market boomed.

So S.B.I. believers don't want just any old NFC team to triumph over the AFC champion in the Super Bowl. Under this thinking, it's best for your portfolio to have the 49ers beat the Seattle Seahawks in Sunday’s NFC championship -- and then win the big game itself on Feb. 2.

Of course, the Super Bowl Indicator is a classic example of confusing correlation with cause and effect. MarketWatch's Mark Hulbert took the whole faulty concept to the woodshed in a column last year.

As he blasted "spurious correlations," Hulbert pointed out that Bangladeshi butter production is an even better "indicator" for stocks. Perhaps the S.B.I. should be renamed the B.S.I.

Of the nine years when the  S.B.I. has failed, four involved Super Bowl appearances by the Denver Broncos -- who play the New England Patriots on Sunday in the AFC Championship.

So you may want to be wary of the Broncos -- and also the Patriots. The best performance in years when the Pats won it all was a 3.1 percent gain in 2004. The worst was a 16.8 percent drop in 2002. And the Patriots’ loss in 2008 to the New York Giants was followed by Wall Street’s worst year since the Super Bowl began, a 33.8 percent slide in the Dow.

Seattle's only Super Bowl appearance in 2006 was a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Dow surged that year. (Although the Seahawks are in the NFC, the Steelers have their roots in the old NFL, and for the purposes of the indicator are deemed to be an NFC team, meaning the indicator is deemed to have held that year.)

Overall, you can see the prediction business is tough. Just ask all those Wall Street strategists who haven't exactly been spot on.

Check out the table below to learn more about how the Super Bowl Indicator has performed when your team has been in the hunt. Just click on the headers of each column to sort by year, winning team, the Dow's percentage change that year, etc.

YearWinnerDow % changeIndicator worked?Loser
1967Green Bay Packers15.20%Y
Kansas City Chiefs
1968Green Bay Packers4.30%Y
Oakland Raiders
1969New York Jets-15.20%Y
Baltimore Colts
1970Kansas City Chiefs4.80%N
Minnesota Vikings
1971Baltimore Colts6.10%Y
Dallas Cowboys
1972Dallas Cowboys14.60%Y
Miami Dolphins
1973Miami Dolphins-16.60%Y
Washington Redskins
1974Miami Dolphins-27.60%Y
Minnesota Vikings
1975Pittsburgh Steelers38.30%Y
Minnesota Vikings
1976Pittsburgh Steelers17.90%Y
Dallas Cowboys
1977Oakland Raiders-17.30%Y
Minnesota Vikings
1978Dallas Cowboys-3.10%N
Denver Broncos
1979Pittsburgh Steelers4.20%Y
Dallas Cowboys
1980Pittsburgh Steelers14.90%Y
Los Angeles Rams
1981Oakland Raiders-9.20%Y
Philadelphia Eagles
1982San Francisco 49ers19.60%Y
Cincinnati Bengals
1983Washington Redskins20.30%Y
Miami Dolphins
1984Los Angeles Raiders-3.70%Y
Washington Redskins
1985San Francisco 49ers27.70%Y
Miami Dolphins
1986Chicago Bears22.60%Y
New England Patriots
1987New York Giants2.30%Y
Denver Broncos
1988Washington Redskins11.80%Y
Denver Broncos
1989San Francisco 49ers27.00%Y
Cincinnati Bengals
1990San Francisco 49ers-4.30%N
Denver Broncos
1991New York Giants20.30%Y
Buffalo Bills
1992Washington Redskins4.20%Y
Buffalo Bills
1993Dallas Cowboys13.70%Y
Buffalo Bills
1994Dallas Cowboys2.10%Y
Buffalo Bills
1995San Francisco 49ers33.50%Y
San Diego Chargers
1996Dallas Cowboys26.00%Y
Pittsburgh Steelers
1997Green Bay Packers22.60%Y
New England Patriots
1998Denver Broncos16.10%N
Green Bay Packers
1999Denver Broncos25.20%N
Atlanta Falcons
2000St. Louis Rams-6.20%N
Tennessee Titans
2001Baltimore Ravens-7.10%N
New York Giants
2002New England Patriots-16.80%Y
St. Louis Rams
2003Tampa Bay Buccaneers25.30%Y
Oakland Raiders
2004New England Patriots3.10%N
Carolina Panthers
2005New England Patriots-0.60%Y
Philadelphia Eagles
2006Pittsburgh Steelers16.30%Y
Seattle Seahawks
2007Indianapolis Colts6.40%Y
Chicago Bears
2008New York Giants-33.80%N
New England Patriots
2009Pittsburgh Steelers18.80%Y
Arizona Cardinals
2010New Orleans Saints11.00%Y
Indianapolis Colts
2011Green Bay Packers5.50%Y
Pittsburgh Steelers
2012New York Giants7.30%Y
New England Patriots
2013Baltimore Ravens26.50%Y
San Francisco 49ers

More from MarketWatch

Jan 16, 2014 1:42PM
Doesnt everyone know that its bad luck to be superstitious?
Jan 18, 2014 6:38AM
Those stadiums with play offs will be crowded. Go Hawks. Make more noise12th man. Give them more than they can take and move to the next level. My stocks went down because the wrong team won the super bowl or my horse lost because the track was cuppy is for other sports fans. Dancing is a contact sport, Football& Hockey are collision sports.
Jan 18, 2014 8:45PM
Correction the system has the Hawks winning by 3.7 not the Niner's, however my gut says otherwise.
Jan 19, 2014 12:05AM

How about this pattern, 49ers have gone to the big game 5 times, the first 2 resulted in 19.60 and 27.00 rise, and the 3rd chance rendering -4.30, the next 2 apperances showed a 33.50 and a 26.50 last year, not only is the pattern been 2 good followed by one bad, also the 2nd and 3rd appearances were consecutive years as well as 5th and 6th will be.  We don't want that GO HAWKS!

Jan 18, 2014 8:43PM
My system has the Niner's winning by 3.7 points.  Howsomeever my system does not account for Michael Crabtree now being available as it was based largely on scores during the season and my gut feeling is that with Vernon Davis, Q, and Crabtree will be too hot of a receiving group to control and my gut says the Niner's will win and I don't like the Niners.
Jan 19, 2014 2:08AM
So in 1990 when the market dropped almost 5% when the 49ers played the Broncos says what about the 49ers winning? Looks like this is an article written by a douchebag 49er fan.
Jan 16, 2014 1:34PM
I'm providing the Bangladeshi Butter Index, along with the Super Bowl Indicator, in every edition of my premier publication, "Bridges For Sale! Cheap!"
Jan 18, 2014 1:38PM
If they lose it must be Obama's fault.
Jan 18, 2014 7:03PM
Sorry Seattle, the Hens are going down.
Jan 16, 2014 4:51PM
Jan 18, 2014 12:43PM
12th man my azz. It's just a form of cheating to obstruct opposing teams from scoring period. That stadium is obnoxious.  How many rings does Seattle have?
Jan 18, 2014 2:59PM
Yeah baby! Go Niners! Progressive city and progressive politics work.
Jan 16, 2014 6:43PM
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