The S&P 500 was launched on March 4, 1957 – and in commemoration of that event, Standard & Poor’s has published some “Interesting Data Points’ on what it calls the World’s Most Followed Stock Market Index.’
During its lifespan, 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%). There actually 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 has been 1,527.46, on March 24, 2000.
The S&P 500’s “best’ year came early on – 1958, when it rose 38.06%. Its worst was 1974, when it lost 29.72%.
What Goes Up…
It’s best one day point gain was March 16, 2000, when it rose 66.33 points, proving that what goes down can come back up, its worst one day point loss was just ahead of that; March 14, 2000, when it fell 83.95 points. Another proof statement can be found in the index’s best one-day percentage gain of 9.10%, set on October 21, 1987, just after the infamous October 19 market tumble – which also turned out to be the S&P 500’s worst one-day percentage loss, 20.47%. October 1987 was the S&P 500’s worst month (down 21.76%), while its best was October 1974, when it gained 16.30%.
The S&P 500’s best quarter on record was 1975’s first quarter, when it gained 21.59%. The worst quarter was the third quarter of 1974, when it shed 26.12%.
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.
In order 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. You can find out more about the S&P 500 or any of Standard & Poor’s indices at http://www.standardandpoors.com/indices
An S&P 500 fact sheet is available at http://www2.standardandpoors.com/spf/pdf/index/500factsheet.pdf