NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- According to the Stock Trader's Almanac, since 1950, January has accurately predicted the year's outcome with a more than 80% accuracy ratio. If the S&P 500 remains positive for the full month of January, the rest of the year has usually brought a steady increase. The so-called "January Barometer" has a better record during years when midterm elections take place. Still, regardless of whether or not a midterm election took place, the January Barometer has an 89.1% accuracy rate.
With a down January in the books, the January Barometer forecasts a down year for 2014, unless this year falls into the 10.9% of the years since 1950 when the January Barometer has been wrong.
The Super Bowl Indicator: Buy
Another superstitious stock market indicator with a highly reliable record is the widely-popular Super Bowl Indicator, which tells us whether the stock market will be bullish or bearish for the year. Strangely enough, the Super Bowl Indicator has a success rate of approximately 80%, despite the fact that its basis has nothing to do with stock market statistics, economics or business. Nevertheless, this indicator enjoys better results than those obtained by most hedge funds or mutual fund managers.
The Super Bowl Indicator is based on the premise that if the winning Super Bowl team comes from the original National Football League (back when there used to be a separate American Football League, from 1960-1969), the S&P 500 will be bullish for the rest of the year. The AFL was founded by a number of owners who had been denied NFL expansion franchises. In 1970, the ten AFL franchises were merged into the NFL, where they became known as the American Football Conference.
This year, the Denver Broncos -- one of the original ten AFL teams -- lost the game and the Seattle Seahawks -- a National Football Conference expansion team in 1976 -- won the Super Bowl. Therefore, according to the Super Bowl Indicator, the S&P 500 should be bullish for the rest of the year.
The Chinese Zodiac: Year of The Horse: Mixed Outlook
The Year of The Horse started on Friday, January 31st and is off to a weak start as far as global and Asian stock markets are concerned.
Japan's Nikkei Index is off 14%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng is down 11%, China's Shanghai Composite is off 9.6% and iShares Emerging Markets Index (EEM) is down 10.8% from recent highs.
The Chinese New Year is the Year of the Horse and horse years tend to be times for fast victory, excitement and good luck. Accordingly, several astrologist analysts, including investment bank CLSA (Credit Lyonnais SA Asia) suggest that the Year of the Horse will be positive for global stock markets. CLSA publishes an annual Feng Shui Index which suggests that the Hang Seng Index will rise through the end of July and then start to falter in the second half of the year.
Other Chinese analysts suggest a mixed year with rising volatility and chaos since the horse year is halfway around the Zodiac and so elements of stability and chaos will be in competition in financial markets. Accordingly, these Feng Shui masters suggest a conservative approach.
A final oddball indicator, Sports Illustrated "Swimsuit Issue Indicator," is due out in a couple of weeks and so perhaps that will be the final arbitrator that determines if 2014 is an up or down year. The Swimsuit Issue Indicator suggests that an American model on the cover of the magazine is bullish while a foreign model is bearish for U.S. stock markets.
Overall, I think we can expect more volatility in 2014 as markets react to the ongoing taper of the Federal Reserve bond buying program, an accelerating slowdown in China and lengthening shadows over U.S. earnings.
Regardless of which oddball indicator might be right or wrong, 2014 is certain to be a year of both danger and opportunity. I'm excited about facing the challenges during the Year of the Horse and finding potential rewards in whatever twists and turns this ride might bring.
At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.
This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.
John Nyaradi is Publisher of
, a financial media site focused on news, analysis, and information about Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and global financial and economic developments. John's investment articles have appeared in many online publications and he is a frequent guest on numerous financial media outlets. His book,
, is published by John Wiley and Sons and included among the "Year's Top Investment Books" in the
2011 Stock Trader's Almanac