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FILE--The German zeppelin, Hindenburg, crashes to the ground after bursting into flames at the U.S. Naval Station in Lakehurst, N.J. on May 6, 1937. The Hindenburg was the largest airship ever built at 804 feet long and flew up to 85 miles per hour while held aloft by hydrogen, which was highly flammable. The disaster, which killed 36 people after a 60-hour transatlantic flight from Germany, ended regular passenger service by the lighter-than-air airships. (AP Photo/Murray Becker) (MURRAY BECKER/MURRAY BECKER/AP)
FILE--The German zeppelin, Hindenburg, crashes to the ground after bursting into flames at the U.S. Naval Station in Lakehurst, N.J. on May 6, 1937. The Hindenburg was the largest airship ever built at 804 feet long and flew up to 85 miles per hour while held aloft by hydrogen, which was highly flammable. The disaster, which killed 36 people after a 60-hour transatlantic flight from Germany, ended regular passenger service by the lighter-than-air airships. (AP Photo/Murray Becker) (MURRAY BECKER/MURRAY BECKER/AP)

The Hindenburg hoopla Add to ...

FT Alphaville reminds us that it has been more than a month since the Hindenburg Omen was identified. Do you recall this technical indicator that almost no one had ever heard of? Supposedly, it could predict a stock market plunge - but the triggers seemed, to me at least, a little too complex to grasp.

A large number of stocks within the New York Stock Exchange have to trade at 52-week highs and 52-week lows. For some reason, their numbers must be more than 2.2 per cent of shares traded. Oh, and the omen has to flash at least twice within 36 days. Okay.

Supposedly, the Hindenburg Omen occurred in 2008, just before the financial crisis sent major indexes into a devastating tailspin - and any technical indicator that could, theoretically, get you out of that scrape is worth talking about. The omen also allowed bloggers and newspapers to run terrifying pictures of the 1937 Hindenburg airship disaster (or Led Zeppelin I album cover, depending upon your historical perspective).

The name of the indicator certainly attracts attention, much like the death cross does. But when things don't work out, it also opens technical analysis to some ridicule for, well, sort of overselling things. Over the past month, to September 13, the Dow Jones industrial average has risen about 2 per cent.

 

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