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Annual S&P 500 index performance 1986-2020

The Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index is an index of 500 leading publicly traded companies in the United States. In 2020, the index value closed at 3,756.07 points, which is the highest value on record despite the economic effects of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Statista offers a dedicated, freely accessible website with information on COVID-19 around the world.

What is the S&P 500?

The S&P 500 was established in 1860 and expanded to its present form of 500 stocks in 1957. It tracks the price of stocks on the major stock exchanges in the United States, distilling their performance down to a single number that investors can use as a snapshot of the economy’s performance at a given moment. This snapshot can be explored further. For example, the index can be examined by industry sector, which gives a more detailed illustration of the economy.

Other measures

Being a stock market index, the S&P 500 only measures equities performance. In addition to other stock market indices, analysts will look to other indicators such as GDP growth, unemployment rates, and projected inflation. Similarly, since these indicators say something about the economic future, stock market investors will use these indicators to speculate on the stocks in the S&P 500.

Annual development of the S&P 500 index from 1986 to 2020

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Release date

January 2021


United States

Survey time period

1986 to 2020

Supplementary notes

Year-end closing values.

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