# FREAK-y Stat of the Day: It's 2008 All Over Again

This Freaky stat comes courtesy of reader Benjamin Bias, who brought to our attention this oddity, as noted by Joe Weisenthal at Business Insider:

Yesterday, Oct. 3, 2011, the S&P 500 closed at 1,099.23.

Exactly three years ago, on Oct. 3, 2008, the S&P 500 closed at 1,099.23.

As if investors needed anymore reason to be nervous these days.

#### Efi

By my (very rough) calculation, the odds of the S&P 500 closing at the same number over the past 3 years on the same date is .00880% (for a range, I take the highest S&P 500 value and the lowest S&P 500 value since October 3rd, 2008 (1363.61 on 4/9/2011, and 1022.58 on 7/2/2010 respectively), and calculate how many possible values you can have (34,103). So 3/34103.

I'd be curious though to see how many other numerical indicators as chaotic as the S&P 500 have similar coincidences.

#### Efi

err... .00441%. Missed the low figure in May 2009.

#### Nick Coghlan

However, to calculate the odds correctly, you have to account for the fact that we don't really care *which* particular pair of dates is involved, or even that it's the S&P 500 in particular, or even that it's exactly 3 years - any date match would do to trip our "that's a freaky coincidence" receptors, regardless of the specific number of years.

The odds of "some significant market statistic matching its exact value on the corresponding date in a previous year at some point during the current year/decade/whatever" are substantially higher than those for "the S&P 500 on Oct 3 2011 closing at the same value it closed at on Oct 3 2008".

#### Tim Davies

It looks as though it has closed at that number many times since 2008. I am sure we could write a book about pairs of dates or frequency of numbers. Also sure we can create mathematical proof for the results.

#### dave gershner

Different this time. Why? Smarter, more competent president, check this:

REAGAN, BUSH, OBAMA ALL HAD RECESSIONS TO DEAL WITH DURING
THEIR FIRST TWO YEARS IN OFFICE. THIS IS HOW YOU COMPARE COMPETENCE.

Look at the first two years in office and check performance of DJIA:

Reagan---DJIA UP 8%

Bush------DJIA DOWN 23%

Obama---DJIA UP------------------32%

IT'S YOUR MONEY---WHICH PRESIDENT DID THE BEST JOB AND WHO DO YOU

BY GROWTH IN DJIA, (OR YOUR MONEY), JOB CREATION OR RISE IN DEBT/DEFICT
OBAMA IS THE BEST PRESIDENT.

#### Mihai Martoiu Ticu

Wall Street is running out of numbers. They have to recycle old ones.

#### Paul M

This is a joke, right? The coincidence of a number being attached to the SPX almost exactly three years apart is a mildly interesting anomaly.

The second part about "As if investors needed any more reason to be nervous" line: if that was an actual analysis from someone who purports to offer insight into the markets, they need to be fired today. That is the kind of garbage which pollutes the airwaves and brainwaves, like the gasbags on cable TV who purport to explain why what they said yesterday was wrong (again) today.

Please tell me he was merely making a bad joke, and I just missed it because of the context here. BTW, on Aug 20, 2004 the SPX closed at 1098.35 and then proceeded to go up ~50% in the next three years.

The casino opens again today at 0930 ET.

#### Eric M. Jones.

The odds are impossible to calculate.

The frequency of "1" is such a number is several times the frequency of "9" for example. That's how forensic accountants can tell if you're cheating.

#### Aaron Brown

This is the 37th time since 1929 that the S&P500 has closed at exactly the same value on exactly the same date in different years. As you surmise, there is a positive correlation between the one-month returns following the two dates (t-stat = 1.4, so we can't publish yet). Based on the regression (return in month following second date = 1.38% + 0.15 times return in month following first date) and the -12% return following October 3, 2008, we can expect a negative 0.38% return on the S&P500 from October 3, 2011 to November 2, 2011.

Scary fact. The S&P500 closed at 24.18 on June 3, 1930 and June 3, 1953.