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Across My Desk: S&P 500

The S&P 500 has been around for 50 years, now. And if you're one of the millions who keeps an eye on that index or has invested in it, what follows are some tidbits:

  • The S&P 500 was launched on March 4, 1957.

  • It's been referred to as "The World's Most Followed Stock Market Index."

  • Throughout the past five decades, the S&P 500 has closed up 6,608 days, with an average daily gain of 2.71 points (0.63%). It has lost ground on 5,900 days, with an average loss of 2.80 points (-0.64%). And, there have been 73 days where there was no change in the index.

  • The closing price of the S&P 500 on March 5, 1957 was 44.42. It didn't close above 100 until June 4, 1968 - and not above 200 until November 2, 1985. It first closed at or over 1,000 on February 2, 1998.

  • Its highest close was 1,527.46, on March 24, 2000.

  • Its best year was in 1958, when the S&P 500 rose 38.06%. Its worst year was 1974, when it lost 29.72%.

  • Its best one-day point gain was on March 16, 2000, when it rose 66.33 points.

  • Its worst one-day point loss was two days previous, on March 14, 2000, when it fell 83.95 points.

  • October 1987 was the S&P 500's worst month (down 21.76%), while its best was October 1974, when it gained 16.30%.

  • Eighty-six stocks have been in the index since 1957 - the best stock to hold would have been Altria (formerly Phillip Morris), where $1 invested would now be worth more than $8,400.

  • To be included in the S&P 500, a company must have float-adjusted market capitalization exceeding $4 billion and must meet the Standard & Poor's published guidelines for inclusion.

To find out more about the S&P 500, check their fact sheet out at:


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