Did Rolling Stone Jinx Tesla with the Magazine Cover Indicator?


So at 10:45 a.m. yesterday, I got an email with the subject line “The Most Important Person of Our Generation.”

It came from Neil Strauss, author of the infamous pick-up artist memoir The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists:

I know what you're about to ask…

And I can neither confirm nor deny that I read The Game.

So, to whom was Neil referring as “The Most Important Person of Our Generation.”?

Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk, whom Neil just profiled for a Rolling Stone cover story:

Rolling Stone covers focus on entertainers, followed by politicians and athletes.

I looked at hundreds of Rolling Stone covers going back to 1990 and I found exactly one CEO cover story… and it was about an even bigger tech icon.

It was the October 27, 2011 issue commemorating Apple (AAPL) founder Steve Jobs, who had died 3 weeks earlier:

Even in the late 1990's dot-com boom, there wasn't a single tech-focused Rolling Stone cover story, let alone a CEO story.

And of course, this has me thinking about the magazine cover indicator.

The magazine cover indicator says that a dramatic magazine cover story (typically a major business magazine like Fortune or BusinessWeek) can be a contrary indicator.

The most famous example is BusinessWeek's The Death of Equities cover in August 1979, which preceded the biggest bull market known to man.

Chart from FinancialSense.com

So did Rolling Stone ‘jinx' Tesla? And the wider world of technology of stocks?

Let's see.

In Neil Strauss email, he said he “spent the last nine months in and out of his world, working on this profile…”

9 months back from November 15 is February 15.

Let's assume that Rolling Stone spent a month before slating Musk for a cover story.

In January, Tesla traded between $210.96 and $258.46.

It hit $389.61 in September before pulling back to $312.49 when the story hit.

Here's what the stock chart looks like:

Since Tesla's at a bit of a crossroads now, only time will tell if Rolling Stone put in the ‘jinx.'

Or maybe I should put it another way.

Only time will tell if Elon Musk marked a top in his ego — and by extension his Tesla/Solar City/Space X juggernaut — by agreeing to a Rolling Stone cover in the first place.

So we'll see.

But what about technology overall?

We know it's been ripping since the election.

But here's a 20-year monthly chart of the S&P Technology ETF (XLK):

Let me be clear: the magazine cover indicator should not be mixed up with actual science or rational analysis.

It's mostly valuable to permabears desperate for attention on Twitter.

But I can't help but ask: wouldn't it be funny if tech topped out just as Rolling Stone broke tradition to put Elon Musk on the cover?

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