Monday, August 20, 2012

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Just over 20 years ago, mathematician Jim Miekka created The Hindenburg Omen. Nothing to do with the big German airship that burst into flames in the 30s, The Hindenburg Omen is supposed to be a predictor of a stock market crash. It basically says that during a normal period (and there's not much agreement on what period in the NYSE is ever classified as truly 'normal') a large number of stocks may set new annual highs or new annual lows, but at different times. If however this happens at the same time, then this is a good indicator the stock market is going to crash. Thus The Hindenburg Omen.

But, is The Hindenburg Omen something you should be paying attention to? Does it really accurately predict a stock market crash? No, it doesn't. And here's why.

Prediction is Only 24% Accurate - Since The Hindenburg Omen was first triggered back in 1987, it has only been correct 24% of the time. Yes, you read that correctly - less than 1 in 4. Now, as someone who follows the stock market relatively closely, I can give you a prediction the stock market will crash this month with a 50% accuracy rate. Either it will, or it won't. So a predictor like The Hindenburg Omen that's only been correct a handful of times, even though market conditions have triggered it many times, is worse than useless. Any 'expert' on CNN or MSNBC has a better success rate than that.

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy - Of course, every time The Hindenburg Omen is triggered, the market falls. Why? Because investors, who are known to panic and sell quickly at even the smell of bad news, panic and sell quickly. That drags the stock market down until investors who are smarter, buy back in at a lower price, thus almost guaranteeing themselves a hefty profit. With The Hindenburg Omen being triggered four times this month, the stock market has fallen. Will it go back up? Of course it will. It always does.

Recent Hindenburg Omen Triggers - Market conditions have triggered The Hindenburg Omen four times in the last three weeks. Beginning on August 12th, then again on the 20th, 24th and 25th of August. Yet, so far, no stock market crash. Sure, the stock market went down, then went right back up, to go down again and on and on. That's a normal stock market and nothing indicates, as yet, it's anything different that would cause a stock market crash.

The Omen That Cried Wolf - The more times The Hindenburg Omen is triggered, the less effective it is. It's now been triggered four times this month but there's still no stock market crash in sight. The more it does this, the less investors are going to listen, the more they'll buy in and the more useless The Hindenburg Omen is. Finally having the opposite effect of the real 'boy who cried wolf story', as stock market crashes not happening will bolster investor confidence and ensure that they don't.

Polls Show Most Still Invest in Stock Market - Even after The Hindenburg Omen was triggered four times this month, polls still show most investors think it's better putting your money in stocks than in bonds. And many said they weren't going to let something like The Hindenburg Omen stop them from investing in the stock market. Now they are the smart investors.


The HIndenburg Omen is seen: Will a stock market crash follow? - Daily Finance

What exactly is The Hindenburg Omen? - CNBC (with video analysis)

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