Will the Market 'Leap' This Year?

Mike Finn-Kelcey | Age Fotostock | Getty Images

February 29 is a leap day, a date that is added to the calendar every four years, also called a leap year.

Could there be a correlation between leap years and market performance?

Since 1972, there have been 10 leaps years and the S&P 500 posted an average gain of 6 percent during those years, compared to an average return of 8.7 percent during non-leap years.

If you take out 2008, a leap year that came at the height of the recession and saw the S&P drop 38.5 percent, the average during leap years jumps to 10.9 percent, beating the average in non-leap years.

The same holds true for the Dow and Nasdaq, which on average, posted gains of 4.9 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively, compared to 9.2 percent and 13.8 percent during non-leap years. But when 2008 is removed from the equation, the average in leap years nearly doubles.

And since 1972, there has not been a negative leap year that has not been followed by a positive leap year.

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