Follow Us on Facebook  Follow Us on Twitter   RSS Feed
0 Flares Filament.io 0 Flares ×

Well, it’s not only in your head. There really is something sinister about Mondays.Wall street train

Monday is the only day the stock market is more likely to fall than to rise. The Dow Jones industrial average has been down 10 of the past 11 Mondays, while the two worst days in market history are both known as Black Monday.

There is no any particular reason why Mondays are so bad. But then again, there’s no particular reason the market rises or falls on any other day, driven as it is by the whims of traders placing millions of individual buy and sell orders.

Any reason we can think of is circumstantial, at best – it may be that companies tend to release bad news on Friday nights, when fewer people are paying attention. Monday is the first day investors can react.

Also, when companies collapse, it often happens on late Sunday or early Monday, after having spent a last weekend attempting to stay afloat.  Bear Steams, Wachovia and, most famously, Lehman Brothers investment bank, on Sept. 15, 2008 are good examples for this.

It may also be that people are simply grumpier on Mondays. They are at least more anxious: The so-called Vix, a measure of investor fear, is prone to go up on Mondays, notes Ryan Detrick, senior technical strategist for Schaeffer’s Investment Research in Cincinnati.

Or maybe it’s a coincidence – another pattern people hold on to, to make the market seem more understandable, same as the stories that hemlines go up in bull markets, or that stocks rise if a team from the NFC wins the Super Bowl.

Burton Malkiel, author of “A Gaggle of Other Technical Theories to Help You Lose Money.” finds the “blue Monday” phenomenon equally disappointing. “Far from dependable,” he says, and “most likely due to chance.”

Still, it seems there is a pattern.

Three of the five worst days in the history of the S&P 500 were Mondays, including two days known as Black Monday: Oct. 19, 1987, when stocks fell more than 20 percent, and Oct. 28, 1929, which helped spur the Great Depression.

Even pop culture is against Mondays. The Mamas & the Papas sang that every other day of the week is fine, while Bob Geldof screamed I don’t like Mondays during the 1980s. Nobody names a restaurant T.G.I. Monday’s. The Titanic sank on a Monday, for God’s sake.

However, it wasn’t always like this, with Mondays representing the dreadful beginning of the workweek in Western culture. Monday probably earned its bad reputation when the Roman emperor Constantine the Great invented the weekend.

Constantine made Sunday, named for the Sun, a rest day, thus pleasing both sun-worshippers and Christians who believed in the resurrection of Christ on a Sunday.

Thus Monday, named for the Moon, became the day for going back to work. Of course, there’s always been some mystery around the moon – much like how the stock market works on Mondays.