Thursday, December 24, 2015

Short skirts and tall buildings

There is a reasonably respectable theory (by comparison with the universe thereof) which says that stock prices track hemlines (the Go Go 60s and the grim early ‘70s e.g.) – and randomness is a prime culprit. Another interesting line up comes from the building of sky scrapers.
Consider
  • 1885 and the first seriously tall edifice… the Home Insurance Building in Chicago
  • 1907 the stock crash and up goes the Singer Building to lead the leap skyward
  • 1936 and the depths of depression brings us the Empire State building (still the optimal height / yield mix)
  • 1970s and the oil shock gave us the World Trade Centre and Willis Towers
  • late 1990s and the Asian Financial crisis sees the Petronas Towers  pierce new heights
  • and the GFC in 2010 produced the record breaking Burj Khalifa in Dubai
What is tougher to tell is whether the buildings preceded a crash or were built shortly after in an attempt to inspire confidence. Too few data points of course (but it’s Christmas).

The worry is that 2018 will see the tallest yet at 1,000m Kingdom Tower, Jeddah opened. Precursor or sugar high? Clearly a skirt length prediction called for.

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