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Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue is a hot topic in the world of economic indicators.

First, there is an indicator based upon the nationality of the cover model. It suggests that when the cover model is from the United States, the S&P will show a return for the year above it’s historical rate. With a non-American cover model, the S&P 500 will underperform for the year.

From 1979 to 2008, the average return of the S&P 500 was 8.87 percent. When the cover model was American, the average annual return of the S&P 500 was 13.9 percent. With a non-American cover model, the average annual return for the S&P 500 was 7.2 percent.

Going against the theory, the best performing year for the S&P 500 was in 1995 (up 33.56 percent) when the cover model was Daniela Pestova, of the Czech Republic. The worst performing cover model was also a victim of the financial meltdown, American-born Marissa Miller saw the S&P plummet 38.49 percent during her cover year. This year’s cover: Bar Rafaeli, an Israeli citizen.

There also appears to be a trend in the hair color of the cover model. For more, check out this post from our By The Numbers Blog.

Photo: Oliver Quillia