The World Cup match between the U.S. and Belgium looks like a great case of timing the market.
Today’s game is scheduled to begin just as regular stock trading ends at 4 p.m. in New York. Compared with the midday start for last week’s U.S.-Germany match, there should be fewer conflicts in the workplace while giving Wall Street watering holes an earlier jump on Happy Hour.
“The timing couldn’t be more appropriate,” said Philip Blancato, the chief executive officer of investment adviser Ladenburg Thalmann Funds/USA on Madison Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. “We have a group from the company that’s going to head out at the end of the work day and go watch the game together.”
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The U.S.-Germany match on June 26 drew eyes away from trading screens and some workers from their desks to watch on monitors set up by employers such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM:US) About 257 million shares traded on U.S. exchanges in the 30 minutes after the game’s start, about 6 percent less than the 12-day average before the World Cup, according to Bloomberg data.
Midtown 1015, a bar on second avenue in Manhattan, has doubled its staff in anticipation of heavy crowds to watch the game, said Laura Langella, a bartender. She expects more than 500 revelers to come to the pub, which is a few blocks from Citigroup Inc.’s (C:US) headquarters.
For previous matches “we have people lining up two hours before, staking out tables, saving seats,” Langella said in an interview. “The energy is so high. With other games, people drop in, stay for an hour, clap for their team. When it’s USA, everyone’s on the same page. They’re going crazy.”
Meanwhile downtown, Stone Street Tavern owner Croine O’Halloran is working with Sixpoint Brewery in Brooklyn to do specials with growlers and beer buckets during the tournament.
“We need to be over-prepared,” said O’Halloran, whose establishment is about two blocks south of Wall Street and draws some 70 percent of its business from the financial crowd during the World Cup. “It’s going to be so busy.”
The U.S. games so far have attracted record television viewership, including an average of 24.7 million for the 2-2 draw with Portugal, which was broadcast on a Sunday evening. The match against Germany drew an average of about 14 million.
The U.S. takes on Belgium in Salvador, Brazil, in the World Cup’s Round of 16. A loss will eliminate the U.S. from the tournament. With a victory, the U.S. would advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2002.
The American team has a 26 percent chance to advance past Belgium to the quarterfinals, according to Bloomberg Sports projections based on group stage results, players’ scoring and defensive abilities, injuries, squad selections and managers.
Outside of the Eastern time zone, the match still butts up more squarely against the workday.
“Everyone will be at their desks doing their jobs when the game starts -- that’s the way it goes,” said Wendell Perkins, a fund manager specializing in international equities at Manulife Asset Management Ltd. in Chicago, which is one hour behind New York. “People have been following the World Cup, but there’s not been any desire from folks here to take time off or to bring a TV.”
Nike Inc. (NKE:US) is allowing workers at its headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, to watch the match, regardless of time zone.
“Different teams and departments will watch the game together - it’s a great atmosphere on campus,” Greg Rossiter, a spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement. “Like the rest of America, we can’t wait to support the U.S. team when they take to the pitch tomorrow.”
For Blancato of Ladenburg Thalmann, the World Cup has been even more exciting because the U.S. team “has a real foothold in advancing in the tournament.”
“It creates euphoria in the work place,” Blancato said. “When’s the last time we had that?”
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