Elves

DEFINITION of 'Elves'

Elves is a slang term that Luis Rukeyser, long-time host of the weekly PBS television show "Wall Street Week," gave to the 10 technical analysts who appeared regularly on the program. The elves were frequent guests from the show's premiere on Nov. 20, 1970, until immediately after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The elves attempted to predict the direction of the market in the coming months and gained popularity due to their inability to make accurate predictions.

BREAKING DOWN 'Elves'

The elves' predictions on Wall Street Week, which ran every Friday night, were based purely on their technical analysis, rather than economic fundamentals, and were rarely correct. Their views were combined into the Elves Index, which host Luis Rukeyser showed to viewers on each week's broadcast. The index was widely considered a contrarian indicator. It was deeply negative in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks; Rukeyser discontinued both the elves and the index at that point. Fox News revived Wall Street Week in 2015 but did not bring back the elves.

Background

Wall Street Week was created by producer Anne Truax Darlington for Maryland Public Broadcasting, which is part of PBS. Darlington recruited Luis Rukeyser to host the show, which premiered on just 11 stations of the Eastern Educational Television Network. EETN is now known as American Public Television, and it is the oldest distributor of public television programming in the United States. Wall Street Week quickly became one of the most popular programs on the then-new PBS network. At the height of the show's popularity, it ran on over 300 stations and had a weekly viewership of more than 4.1 million.

Luis Rukeyser

Wall Street Week host Luis Rukeyser was a graduate of Princeton University who worked as a correspondent for the Baltimore Sun newspaper and ABC television before his hosting duties. He notably did not quit his job as an economic correspondent for ABC until Wall Street Week had been running for more than two years, because he was not confident that it would be a success.

Rukeyser was known for frequently using puns in his broadcasts. He routinely asked his guests to view the audience as intelligent people who were not experts in either economics or the financial markets. He hosted Wall Street Week on PBS until 2002, at which time the producers decided to replace him with a younger host. They renamed the show Wall Street Week with Fortune, named for Fortune magazine, but it never had the same success. and was cancelled in June 2005. Rukeyser went on to host Louis Rukeyser's Wall Street on CNBC for several years but left in 2003 for medical reasons. He died of bone cancer in May 2006.

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