Market gains in January and February almost always mean a good year is ahead, history shows

Wall Street NYSE bull
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The S&P 500 is up 5 percent so far this year, and with just three more trading days in February, it's set to start 2017 with two months of gains (up 1.8 percent in January, up 3.6 percent month to date).

There are 10 more months to go, but this year's strong start certainly looks like a very good omen for bulls in 2017.

Since 1950 (a sample of 67 years), there have been 27 years when the S&P 500 has risen in each of the first two months of the year. After rising in both January and February, just once has the S&P 500 not turned in a gain for that year. If there's ever a time for an asterisk, it's this one ... the one and only time the S&P 500 ended down for the year after rising in January and February of that same year was in 2011, when the index ended the year down 0.04 points (or down 0.003 percent).

Furthermore, of the other 26 times the S&P 500 has risen in both January and February, 22 times (85 percent of the time) has the index ended the year with a double-digit gain (i.e., up more than 10% for the year).