Published on: April 13, 2018

Welcome to Friday. And what a special Friday it is. Please enjoy the special Friday 13th edition of News, Views and Truths.

So, Friday 13th. The day that genuinely causes trepidation to some folk; it’s called paraskevidekatriaphobia. Honestly it is, derived from the Greek word Paraskeví meaning Friday and dekatreis meaning thirteen.

Other facts about Friday 13th are:

  • In Italy, Friday 17th is considered a day of bad luck.
  • In Spanish speaking countries, it’s not a Friday, but Tuesday 13th.
  • The Dutch Centre for Insurance Statistics stated that fewer accidents and reports of fire and theft occur when the 13th of the month falls on a Friday than on other Fridays, because people are preventatively more careful or just stay home.
  • The Finnish take this one step further as one Friday 13th per year is chosen as National Accident Day to raise awareness about automotive safety.
  • There will be three Friday 13th’s in 2026 and two in 2020, 2023, 2024 and 2029.
  • The US S&P 500 index performs worse on Friday 13th than it does on every other Friday. Since 1928, there have been 152 Friday the 13ths and the S&P 500 has posted average daily gains of 0.02%, lower than the 0.05% gain for the 4,466 Fridays from 1928 to 2016.
  • On Friday April 13, 2029, a large asteroid will fly close enough to the Earth to be visible without a telescope in Africa, Europe and Asia, according to NASA.

However, there are those that just throw caution to the wind. Founded in 1882 by Capt. William Fowler, The Thirteen Club of New York was a group of sceptics who defied superstitions by hosting dinner parties on Friday 13th. At the first dinner, the 13 members performed such unlucky feats as passing under a ladder. They dined on 13 courses, the first by the light of 13 candles. The devil-may-care group tipped over salt containers on the table but were forbidden from tossing any of the spilled granules over their shoulders. The small club evolved into a national organisation that boasted such members as Grover Cleveland and Theodore Roosevelt, according to the New York Historical Society.

So how does the market look at the end of the week?  Despite all of the current geopolitical headlines that you do not need me to remind you of, most markets have ended the week positive, without too much in terms of intraday swings.

The UK FTSE 100 closed yesterday up 1.10% and is currently flat at the time of writing, which is despite the profits warning by the software firm Sage resulting in its stock falling nearly 13% at the open.  The mid cap FTSE 250 has fared slightly better up 1.31% of the week, mirroring the S&P 500 up 1.28%.  Emerging markets have had another positive week with a 1.46% return, although Japan is the sole developed market to return a negative with a loss of 0.76%.

So as long as we do not have any leftfield market surprises today, another uneventful 13th.  Just how we like it.

I shall hopefully see you all next week. Chin chin.

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