MARKETS: Heavenly Omen

The word auspice, meaning sign or omen, is telescoped from the Latin words avis, bird, and specere, to see. In ancient Rome the appearance and behavior of birds—whether they were eagles, vultures, owls, crows, or ravens, which direction they flew, how they ate grains of corn—determined whether public assemblies should be held, whether armies should attack, whether merchants should be bullish or bearish.

Last week the augurs of Manhattan's Wall and Broad Streets, weary of watching for omens on ticker tapes, turned to their windows to see the propitious flight of a rare and happily named bird—a Bird of Paradise. The...

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