The S&P 500, or just the S&P, is a stock market index that measures the stock performance of 500 large companies listed on stock exchanges in the United States. It is one of the most commonly followed equity indices, and many consider it to be one of the best representations of the U.S. stock market. The average annual total return of the index, including dividends, since inception in 1926 is 9.8%; however, there were several years where the index declined over 30%. The index has posted annual increases 70% of the time.
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