Friday the 13th usually doesn’t spook investors

Bad luck? Phooey. Investors historically tend to have good fortune in the stock market on Friday the 13th.

It doesn’t happen every time, of course. One of the frequent exceptions came Friday when stocks tumbled with the opening bell and stayed in negative territory all day. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 49 points to 12,422 and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index closed down 0.5 percent at 1,289.

Before this year, the S&P 500 had risen 57 percent of the time when Friday the 13th was a trading day. That’s 80 times out of 141, according to S&P senior analyst Howard Silverblatt. The index rose an average 0.66 percent on those positive days.

Factoring in both gains and losses, historically the index averages a gain of 0.17 percent on Friday the 13th.

But the truly superstitious could still be spooked by the fact that stocks have now fallen for the last three such days, dating to August 2010.

The most unnerving Friday the 13th for investors came in October 1989.

The Dow Jones industrial average plummeted 190 points that day — the second-largest point drop ever at the time — following news that a big buyout deal for United Airlines parent UAL Corp. had fallen through.

What became known as the Friday the 13th mini-crash revived fears of another collapse like the October 1987 crash when the Dow fell 508 points, or 22.6 percent. But as bad as that Friday was, the market didn’t come close to that.