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Goldman Sachs finds that winning World Cup can boost a country's stocks, but only for a while

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LONDON - Winning the soccer World Cup can bring instant rewards to that country's stock market investors. But they better be quick as the post-victory rally doesn't last long.

That's the conclusion of investment bank Goldman Sachs, which published a wide-ranging report on the World Cup and its economic impact.

Goldman Sachs analysts found "a clear pattern of outperformance by the winning team in the weeks after the World Cup final." On average, the victorious country's stocks outperform the global market by 3.5 per cent in the first month, the investment bank's strategy team said.

The conclusions are based on statistics since 1974, when West Germany beat the Netherlands, and appear to be fairly consistent over time. Only Brazil failed to outperform after its win in 2002, largely because the football-mad nation was consumed by recession and a currency crisis.

"In the absence of a severe economic crisis, the winner tends to enjoy the spoils of success in the markets for a brief period at least," Peter Oppenheimer, Goldman Sachs' chief global equity strategist, said in the report published late Tuesday.

A notable exception was Spain, whose stock market rallied 5.7 per cent in the month after the national team won in 2010 its first World Cup — even though the country, along with many of its peers in Europe, was in the midst of an economic and financial crisis.

Investors should be careful, however, not to think that such euphoria will yield longer-lasting gains.

"Sentiment can only take you so far, in markets at least — the winning nation doesn't tend to hold on to its gains and, on average, sees its stock market underperform by around 4 per cent over the year following the final," Oppenheimer said. "The message seems to be: enjoy the gains while they last."

For the country that loses the final, Goldman Sachs found a more modest outperformance of 2 per cent in the first month as the runners-up "seem to experience a post-final bout of the blues."

However, Goldman Sachs found that figure is heavily skewed by the fact that Argentina enjoyed a 33 per cent outperformance in the month after it lost the 1990 World Cup final to Germany as it was recovering from a prior stock market collapse and currency devaluation. Aside from this, Goldman Sachs found that seven of the nine losing finalists underperformed by 1.4 per cent.

"Interestingly, the poor performance doesn't stop there," said Oppenheimer. "Most of the World Cup runners-up have seen their stock markets continue to underperform, with an average relative fall of 5.6 per cent over the first three months.

Oppenheimer said the "ultimate goal" is to win the trophy and host the tournament as there's a 2.7 per cent outperformance on that front in the first month after the event.

That's certainly the goal for Brazil, this year's host and one of the favourites.

The 32-country World Cup kicks off on June 12.

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