The Hindenburg Omen

hindenburg stamps

Public Domain Image, from Wikipedia.

Do you know about the “Hindenburg Omen?” Named for the airship that had a minor oops! back in three-seven, it’s a little bit of theoretical weirdness on the stock market that may — or may not! — indicate that there’s going to be a huge selloff of stocks today, and therefore a stock market crash. You can find out all about it at investor blog The Street.

Or, wait, let me clarify: You can scratch your head and be ultimately bewildered unless you’re a total investment wonk with nothing better to do than speculate on the end of the world. Oh, while you’re there, by the way, go ahead and subscribe to investment guru Jim Cramer’s “Daily Booyah!” — or, for much more fun, just watch the sanctimonious prick humiliated in public by Jon Stewart — point and laugh, everybody, point and laugh!

Glen Beck, by the way, knows all about the Hindenburg Omen, and is very upset that President Obama “was having a Ramadan dinner” when the signs of the Hindenburg Omen were displaying themselves last week. He’s also very worried that Damien Thorn will show up with his Rottweilers — Beck and I are of one mind about that shit — and he wants me to come to Jamaica with him. Awesome!

Anyway, there’s a slightly better explanation of The Hindenburg Omen at Buzztab, but it’s still pretty murky until you check out the phenomenon’s Wikipedia entry, where you discover that the definition of a Hindenburg Omen is:

1. The daily number of NYSE new 52 Week Highs and the daily number of new 52 Week Lows must both be greater than 69.
2. The daily number of NYSE new 52 Week Highs and the daily number of new 52 Week Lows must both be greater than 2.2 percent of total NYSE issues traded that day.
3. The NYSE 10 Week moving average is rising.
4. The McClellan Oscillator is negative on that same day.
5. New 52 Week Highs cannot be more than twice the new 52 Week Lows (however it is fine for new 52 Week Lows to be more than double new 52 Week Highs). This condition is absolutely mandatory.

…which makes it all impossibly clear, right? Huh, huh, Wikipedia said “69.”

See, the thing about market predictors is that they do more to get press for particular investment advisors than to make anything clear to you, me, and the other quarter-billion Americans who just had our trillion-dollar check cashed by a rampant tribe of “anti-socialist” piggies driving Jaguars. But what does Tom McClellan, a market analyst whose parents, Sherman and Marian, invented the McClellan Oscillator, which — no, get your mind out of the gutter, people, see above; it’s just another of these market indicators. Tom McClellan responds to the criticism, voiced on numerous stock market blogs, that the Hindenburg Omen is only correct 25% of the time. What’s he got to say?

McClellan: My response to the criticism that the Hindenburg Omen has only worked 25% of the time is to ask, What’s the track record of a railroad crossing? Plenty of times a railroad crossing signal is triggered but there is no train. When one of these warnings is signaled, an investor needs to remember that it’s simply telling you conditions exist for something to happen, but it doesn’t necessary mean it will happen. It’s nice to know, more or less.

I don’t know what train crossings he’s been hanging out at, but in my town railroad signals tend to get triggered when there’s six zillion tons of steel hurtling at you at about 40 miles an hour. Way more than 25% of the time. Personally, I put my car in PARK.

Does this illuminate the central problem of investing — that investment advisors are actually failed poets and dreamers, whose tortured metaphors rake the soul of the aesthete like fingernails on one of those old-fashioned chalkboard things, a whole lot more than 25% of the time? Mmmmmmmmmaybe. In fact, that possibility is underscored by the first (and, at “press time,” the only) comment made on the Hindenburg Omen post on The Street — but more on that in a moment.

See, if you’re wondering WTF any of this has to do with The Hindenburg, you’re at the start of a long journey of bewilderment that I’ve just given up on. I think it’s because The Hindenburg was a disaster, much like investment writers’ metaphors. In short, it has nothing to do with the Hindenburg, except that other, even more annoying investment advisers had already used the Titanic.

That doesn’t stop the aforementioned commenter on The Street from flogging the metaphor to death:

No sign of a fire so far today, even if this article did cause a static electricity discharge through the framework of readers, the outer cover of the market which could be painted in flammable paint has not ignited. So much for the rocket fuel based paint theory. But I think the real reason the markets are going up is the use of helium by the polititians [sic], because they never make sense to me when they comment about financial matters.

Much as I love to imagine Obama talking in a high squeaky voice, I respectfully have to ask these investment people not to muscle in on my territory. For the love of God, people! Leave the poetry to those of us with humanities degrees and annual income in the four figures. Otherwise, their metaphors may implode and reach critical mass and achieve fission and obliterate a mid-sized Japanese city, because of the heavy-handed uranium spewed by politicians. And then we’ll all glow. Like fireflies. On a balmy South Pacific night over Bikini Atoll…

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2 comments on “The Hindenburg Omen
  1. When are people going to wake up and smell the peculated corruption.

    obama keeps saying things are getting better, but the websites I visit for the [REAL DATA] you know the hard core true, and solid facts are saying we are in for a really rough trot. If we look back at the past and before the 1930 depression, the government saying things would be fine, and recovery was coming, soon after they said that the stockmarket collapsed 90% and the depression came. I think we are dealing with that again. Thank god for the truth bearers, as little as they are.

    A good guy worth checking on youtube, he is great and predicted the last crash, and brings the truth.

  2. @emma, I’m sorry, did I hear the word “Spamming Bitch!” howled with deep annoyance by somebody in my apartment? Must have been the cat, that couldn’t possibly have been me. I would never scream at a bot; I’ve got real, live people on the television to scream at.

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