Is Rising Dow a Good Omen for Horse Sales?

Horse prices often follow stock market trends in at least one study.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 10,015.86 Oct. 14, marking the first time the figure had touched 10,000 since October of last year, when the stock market was on its way down. The statistic has enjoyed an amazing rebound of 53% since March when it dropped to its lowest point in more than a decade.

Is the improvement in the stock market a good omen for the Thoroughbred auction business, which remains mired in a slump? Maybe.

The Blood-Horse tracks stock market trends, compares them to the performance of the select sessions of the Keeneland September auction, and publishes the results each year prior to the start of the sale. In a 16-year period  (1994-2009), the average price during the select session has followed the trend of the stock market 13 times. The Dow Jones’s annual high closing figure and the average both were up in 10 of those years and both were down in three (2002, 2008, and 2009). In 2007, the Dow Jones was up and the Keeneland select average was down. In 2001 and 2003, the Dow Jones was down and the Keeneland select average was up.

In 2009, so far, the Dow Jones average hasn’t risen past 2008’s high, but if the stock market can keep rallying into 2010, recent history shows that the average, at least for the Keeneland September’s select sessions, will follow the same trend more likely than not, giving beleaguered Thoroughbred sellers a glimmer of hope.