Ashes victories and the stock market

Last year, I took a brief look at the possible ramifications of England victories in Ashes matches against Australia. Having expanded the research, it appears victories in this August contest are frequently followed by stock market rallies.

The euphoria around Ashes triumphs is often linked with an upturn in consumer confidence, but the little that is known about its impact on financial markets is much debated.

Since 1985, the six-month period following an Ashes series has seen the winning side’s country's stock market increase by an average of almost 10%. This compares to an average annual gain for the FTSE 100 of around 6% per year since its launch in 1984.

Key Findings

- Stock market of winning side rises by average of nearly 10% in six months following victory
- Average rise after an English win (14%) about twice that for an Australian victory
- English wins in Australia were followed by higher average gains than victories on home turf
- Biggest rises followed England’s 1987 win (34%) and Australia’s 1995 victory (18%)
- Ashes defeats have little effect on stock markets

England may have won fewer series than Australia over the last twenty years, but its victories seem to have had more of an impact on investor confidence – the average FTSE 100 rise after an English win (14%) is around twice that for the ASX 200 following an Australian triumph.

The series linked with the biggest stock market gains were England’s win in 1987 and Australia’s in 1995, with the FTSE and ASX rising by 34% and 18% respectively.

English victories in Australia were associated with average FTSE raises of 17% – 7% more than for series triumphs on home turf. By contrast, the average ASX gain following Australian wins Down Under was 9% – double that for victories in the birthplace of cricket.

The graph below shows the average return for markets in the wake of Ashes series:

250314 A

The table below shows the average returns over a number of time periods, including the overall average/averages for home and away wins for England and Australia.

 

1 week

1 month

2 months

6 months

Overall average

-0.36% 0.07% 1.77% 9.50%

Eng wins in Eng

0.04% 1.00% 3.83% 10.22%

Eng wins in Aus

-0.17% 3.16% 5.59% 17.32%

Aus wins in Eng

-1.12% -2.92% -0.33% 4.46%

Aus wins in Aus

-0.27% -0.18% -0.64% 8.65%

 

Our research found that Ashes defeats had little effect on stock markets, which indicates that risk appetite – while enhanced by sporting victory – is barely changed by failure on the field.

The timing of the Ashes series is also crucial. Summer series tend to end in early September, coinciding with the beginning of the traditionally strong autumn period for stock markets (from the adage, ‘Sell in May, go away, and don’t come back until St Leger’s Day' i.e. early September.). Winter series end in January, and so the six-month period examined in our research only just intrudes into the traditional summer lull for markets.

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