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January Barometer: Groundhog Day for Markets
CNBC.com | February 02, 2013 | 05:10 AM EST

We, we've heard a lot about the " January Barometer " this past week. That's the notion that if the stock market finishes positive for the month of January, it will finish positive for the year as a whole. We certainly had a strong January. But let's not get carried away, folks. It's really the stock market's version of a groundhog's shadow.

People, and media, love predictors. They have cute names (great for headlines), simplify complicated situations, and add tension to what can be a sometimes dry and lengthy process.

And such indicators can have an almost supernatural fascination, especially if a particular one has a fairly positive track record.

And this particular predictor has only been decidedly wrong seven times since 1950. This year people are even more excited about it. The S&P 500 gained over 5 percent for January. Super strong Januarys have coincided with super-strong yearly returns. Heck, 1954 had a strong January and finished with a gain of 45 percent . Yowzah.

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