It's Friday the 13th, so Should We Be Worried?
Well, actually, yes.
There have been enough financial disasters on Friday the 13th over the years to make us all a little nervous. Traders are notoriously a superstitious lot anyway. On Friday 13th, noticeably less business gets done.
You only have to go back to January to see why. When the Costa Concordia cruise ship sank, the most important thing to remember is the fact that thirty passengers died, with two more still missing. In addition though, the damages totaled over $500 million and, while it has yet to be confirmed how much will be paid out to passengers, the total cost to the ship's owner, Carnival in Italy, is expected to be somewhere between $85 and $95 million.
On that very same day, Standard & Poors downgraded the credit rating of France, Austria, Italy, Portugal, Spain and a few more. It was, it seems, a really bad day for Italy.
Go back 8 years to August 13 2004, and that is the day that Hurricane Charley hit the Florida coast. In two days, it caused $15.4 billion in damage. Taking inflation into account, that's $18.9 billion in today's money. More importantly, it caused 10 deaths.
Australia's Black Friday fires began on January 13, 1939 and pretty much took out the whole state of Victoria. The fire burned through 5 million acres of land, destroyed 3,700 buildings and killed 71 people. It's almost impossible to calculate the cost.
Forward a little to October 1989 and UAL, the parent corporation of United Airlines, announced that a leveraged buyout had fallen through. Cue mass panic and a collapse of the junk bond market.
Add the fact that rapper Tupac Shakur died on September 13 1996, and John Gotti was acquitted in March 13, 1987, and maybe we should be biting out nails for the next few hours.
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