Larry, very annoying that it came out wrong, i.e. that to my eyeball your table is consistent with the superstition.
Thought I'd try a shot at it. What the superstition says is that flat years are followed by good years, or, rephrasing, let's define a flat year as a year with a low absolute value for the return and ask: is there a negative correlation between low-absolute-value of the returns in one year with returns in the following year? Here's the plum-pudding chart
and the correlation is -0.034, virtually zero. But, darn it all, it does look as if something's happening at the very left edge. So let's just chart those years for which the return had an absolute value of less than 10%, i.e. was in the range ±10%. Now the chart looks like this
and darn it, I do think I see a bit of a downward slope, and the correlation coefficient is -0.43. Well, at this point I've done so many things that I could be guilty of torturing the data until it tells me what I want to know. The really evil thing I did was pick the zone within which I thought I saw the downward trend. But let's look it up. We are using 26 points and seeing a correlation of -0.43, and--must be a better place than my yellowing Biometrika Tables for Statisticians but I know where it is--nothing tabulated between n = 25 and 30, we'll use 30 which will overstate the significance--30 points, the 5% confidence limit (two-tailed) is 0.349, and the 1% confidence limit is 0.449. Meaning we'd just on be the hairy edge of 5% significance if
it had been a properly designed inquiry.
I don't know what to wish for. A lousy year that will reveal the falsity of the superstition, intellectually satisfying but financially disappointing? Nah, let's have a great year, please, even if it means more financial porn.
Oh well. I've lived long enough to see the end of the "every President elected in a year ending in 0 dies in office" meme.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.