Markets

Michael P. Regan is a Bloomberg Gadfly columnist covering equities and financial services. He has covered stocks for Bloomberg News as a columnist and editor since 2007. He previously worked for the Associated Press.

You can tell things are ugly when even market columnists feel compelled to work over the weekend, especially when it happens to be the first weekend of the NFL playoffs.

Luckily in this case, the result was an important discovery that will surely influence investment decisions for centuries to come: Stock market trends are exactly like NFL quarterbacks . At their best, they are strong and handsome and reliable. They ooze swagger and confidence and wear aftershave. They tend to keep playing for years longer than even their biggest fans could have hoped.

As such, the bull market that started in 2009 is no doubt of Hall of Fame caliber. It's a Johnny Unitas or a Joe Montana, a Brett Favre or a Peyton Manning. Maybe Tom Brady is the best comparison, if you picture Janet Yellen and Ben Bernanke as the equipment managers, keeping the balls nice and soft for all those games.

Of course, even elite athletes like these are tremendously fragile. Something as silly as a bad burrito can make the QB sick and suddenly all that precious momentum is sucked right out of the stadium.

Burrito Blues
Chipotle was a trendy 'momentum stock' over the past three years before the momentum reversed.
Source: Bloomberg

Indeed, it looked as if it was all over for our current hero way back in 2011, when the QB was sacked for a loss of 19 by those notorious cheap shot artists in Washington. The problem with paying big bucks for a star QB is this: who knows who is on the bench? If you're lucky maybe you have a journeyman like Michael Vick, but chances are good that instead you have some kid like Jimmy Garoppolo fresh out of some school you didn't even realize had a team. Thankfully, after that 2011 setback, the starter got healthy quickly and the market was back to its old form in the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons.

But by 2015, it was clear age was becoming an issue that was too hard to ignore anymore. The stats for the season looked more like Ryan Fitzpatrick than Tom Brady. He went 7-9 and missed the playoffs after getting knocked out cold in August by the ruffians from the free-market expansion franchise in China. The quarterback spent more time with orthopedic specialists than supermodels that year. He no longer smelled of aftershave, but of Bengay and Icy Hot.

Last week, he faced that same China squad in the first week of the 2016 season, and once again it wasn't pretty.

The QB was back in the game and off to an early lead on Monday morning, but there is obviously still a lot of pain. The trainers gave him the concussion protocol, and the results were alarming.

"Who is this current president?"

"Aww, that's easy," the QB smirked, with a twinkle in his dilated pupils. "It's Xi Jinping." 

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.

  1. Note to readers outside the U.S.: The "NFL" is a popular American television series featuring oversized men who smash violently into one another while wearing helmets, shoulder pads and yoga pants. The quarterback is the star of the show and there are rules to spare him the worst of the violence, especially if he is good looking enough to have secured at least $10 million or so in corporate endorsements. 

To contact the author of this story:
Michael P. Regan in New York at mregan12@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Daniel Niemi at dniemi1@bloomberg.net