This paper appeared in the journal Technological Forecasting & Social Change:
Sunspots, GDP and the stock market (View paper PDF)
by: Theodore Modis
A correlation has been observed between the US GDP and the number of sunspots as well as between the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the number of sunspots. The data cover 80 years of history. The observed correlations permit forecasts for the GDP and for the stock market in America with a future horizon of 10 years. Both being above their long-term trend they are forecasted to go over a peak around Jun-2008.
The paper concludes:
…..If one accepts that there must be some correlation between GDP growth and stock-market growth as displayed in Fig. 5, then one cannot use the lack of scientific proof as an argument against the existence of correlation between the stock market and sunspots (Fig. 2), or between GDP and sunspots (Fig. 4). On the other hand, if these correlations are real, then we can venture long-range forecasts for the DJIA and the GDP….
….The levels forecasted here for the DJIA of 13908 in mid 2008 and 7919 in early 2014….
While there may be some correlation between sunspots and the DJIA and GDP, there’s also much larger drivers, such as panic and bad loans in the banking industry. Sir William Herschel discovered a correlation between wheat prices and sunspots. In 1801 he published two papers that, in part because of Herschel’s reputation as England’s “Kings Astronmer”, effectively launched the field of solar influences on Earth’s weather. It is in the first of these papers that Herschel discusses an anticorrelation between the price of wheat and the number of sunspots visible on the Sun.
So, I suppose DJIA/GDP links aren’t that far fetched. I remember well when Carl Sagan said in his famous 1980’s PBS special COSMOS that “we are all made of star-stuff”. Thus is doesn’t seem that unplausible that the ebb and flow of our existence continues to be linked to our nearest star.
h/t to Paul Biggs