2019 S&P 500 Return

September 6th, 2020 by 

The S&P 500 Price index returned 30.43% in 2019. Using a better calculation including dividend reinvestment, the S&P 500 returned 33.07%.

The 2019 S&P 500 Return: Buy, Hold and Reinvest

The quoted numbers are returns all in one year (2019) – you bought the absolute open on January 2nd, 2019 and sold the closing trade on December 31, 2019. This is equivalent to the "year to date" return after the close on the last trading day of the year.

If you'd prefer a proxy for a one year span, the numbers buying at the December 31, 2018 closing price the returns would be 28.88% and 31.49%, respectively.

S&P 500 Index Price Calculation

Price FromPriceDec 31 CloseGain/Loss
Jan 2 Open2476.963230.7830.43%
Dec 31 Close2506.853230.7828.88%

S&P 500 Total Return Price Calculation

Price FromPriceDec 31 CloseGain/Loss
Jan 2 Open4924.816553.5733.07%
Dec 31 Close4984.226553.5731.49%

Dividends Matter

As always, the exact timeframe that you choose to compute the total return on an index doesn't matter too much (but stay consistent). However, computing dividends does matter.

Sure – the S&P 500's return was excellent either way. However, you need to account for the dividends you receive. If you reinvested dividends (as the total return number implies), all the better - that's compounding on compounding!

I've been banging the dividend drum for a while, and I won't stop today:

Discount price returns. Do the dividend math – or, hey, keep visiting DQYDJ!

S&P 500 Return in 2019 with and Without Dividends.
Yahoo!'s YTD S&P 500 chart at the close: not caught up yet.

Source on the 2019 S&P 500 Return Calculations

The S&P 500 Price and Total Return index is owned by S&P Dow Jones Indices owns and maintains the S&P 500 Index. Since 1987 they maintain both indices, and you can find the S&P (now) 500 in various stages much further back.

DQYDJ has quite a collection of calculators and tools for you to use total returns for research or other purposes.

The 2019 S&P 500 Return

You can find both the S&P 500 and the Total Return at Yahoo!. Here's the overlay for 2019:  

Just reinvesting dividends would have boosted your returns over 2.5 percentage points. If you only looked at price returns you'd inappropriately be looking at lower returns – which don't tell the whole story.

Either way – it was a great year! And much better than last year's losses (with and without the dividend calculation) Just keep those comparisons appropriate.

Here's to more massive gains in 2020 📈.

Other years:

What do you see the S&P 500 doing in 2020?

Don't Quit Your Day Job...

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