Steelers win would bode well for stocks

History suggests investors would have more to gain from a Pittsburgh victory over Green Bay in Super Bowl XLV.

By TheStreet Staff Jan 24, 2011 2:10PM

By Robert Holmes, TheStreet

 

Stock investors looking for the biggest gains this year may find themselves rooting for the Pittsburgh Steelers to beat the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV.

 

The Steelers and Packers will meet after the teams won their respective conference championship games Sunday. Appearances in the big game by both teams have been historically good for investors, according to data collected by financial analytics firm Capital IQ. However, stocks rose more during the years the Steelers won.

 

The average return of stocks during the years the Steelers represented the AFC in the big game is 25%. When the Packers represented the NFC, the stock market returned 24%, according to the data. Capital IQ calculated the annualized average returns for the S&P 500 ($INX) from January 1967 through Dec. 31, 2010. The data offer a lighthearted look at 44 years of Super Bowl history and stock market returns rather than serious fundamental analysis.

 

The Steelers have had more Super Bowl victories than any other team, winning six of the seven games they've played. They will tie the Dallas Cowboys with an eighth overall Super Bowl appearance. The Packers, meanwhile, will make their fifth trip to the Super Bowl and have a 3-1 overall record.

Bulls, however, should be rooting for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers to defeat the Green Bay Packers and QB Aaron Rodgers. While having Pittsburgh in the big game is good for stocks either way, the average return after a Steelers' victory has been a whopping 26%, according to Capital IQ's data. When the Steelers lost at Super Bowl XXX in 1996, the market rose 23% that year.

 

On the other hand, the year the Green Bay Packers lost in the Super Bowl, the market gained 29%. That compares with an average return of 23% after Packers victories, according to the data.

 

While the Steelers and Packers have yet to square off against each other in the Super Bowl, the two storied franchises last played each other on Dec. 20, 2009, a game that resulted in a 37-36 victory for the Steelers in Pittsburgh.

 

Capital IQ also compared high-scoring games to low-scoring ones, AFC and NFC victories, wins by home teams versus away, and games played in domed stadiums versus open-air fields. Several pieces of the data are also positive for investors. For example, when a team has won the championship more than once, stocks have climbed an average of 13%. The Packers and Steelers have won several NFL title games.

 

Other trends observed in the data tend to favor the Packers. The market has gained 15%, on average, after a NFC win versus 7% after an AFC win. Capital IQ also highlighted the best market return (38% in 1995 after the San Francisco 49ers beat the San Diego Chargers) and the worst loss (a 37% drop in 2008, when the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots). The Packers are considered the home team in Super Bowl XLV, and stocks have risen 17% on average during the years the home team has won. Already, Green Bay is favored by 2.5 points by Las Vegas bookmakers.

 

Bears -- not the ones from Chicago -- will be happy to know that the investor outlook isn't good for championship games played in Texas. For those years, stocks have declined 8% on average, the worst drop of any of the seven states that have hosted the Super Bowl, according to Capital IQ's data.

 

And for all the attention that the new Cowboys Stadium will receive during Super Bowl week, the dome also bodes poorly for the stock market. Jerry Jones' crown jewel does have a retractable roof to go along with the massive high-definition video screen, but the data show that Super Bowl games played in domed stadiums precede a market return of only 3%, compared with a 15% return after games played outdoors.

 

While it may be hard to predict the score of Super Bowl XLV, the market tends to favor higher-scoring games, according to the data. For Super Bowl games resulting in a final total combined score of at least 45 points, the stock market has returned 17% on average. When the final combined score has been under 45, the average market has returned 5%. The total points line for the game opened at 46, according to Linesmaker.com.

Fans of the New York Jets do have a small nugget of good news after the playoff-ending loss to the Steelers late Sunday. The stock market fell by 8% in the lone appearance by Gang Green in Super Bowl III, so a victory in Super Bowl XLV would not have been a good omen for market returns in 2011.

 

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