Unexpectedly Intriguing!
06 December 2006

Stock Market Countless hours have been spent by stock market investors researching the historic performance of the S&P 500 stock market index but until now, they've had to slog through spreadsheets or go datamine other reams of data to be able to extract the data they're after, and that's before doing any number crunching! Now however, everything has changed because we here at Political Calculations are putting the entire encapsulated history of the S&P 500 at your fingertips!

We've taken the raw data from the sources linked above, and made it easily accessible by selecting a month and year in our tool below. The tool will provide the average index value of the S&P 500 for the given month and year, the associated dividends and earnings for that month and year, not to mention the dividend yield and the price to earnings ratio. For good measure, we threw in the value of the Consumer Price Index as well!

But wait, that's not all! We did all this for a second date that you might select as well - and then we really get busy! Our tool will find the annualized rate of return for an investment made in the S&P 500 between the two dates you select, both with and without considering the reinvestment of dividends in the index.

And then, there's even more! For no extra charge, we'll also factor in inflation into the calculations and find the rate of inflation between the two dates you select, not to mention the inflation-adjusted rates of return for an investment made in the S&P 500 between the two dates as well!

Better than sliced bread? Maybe not, but we couldn't think of a better way to celebrate our second anniversary today. Enjoy!

Note: The earnings and dividend data in the most recently reported years may be subject to change as the index' component companies may restate portions of their financial data for various reasons.

Dates of Interest
Input Data Values
Beginning Date (Year.Month)
Ending Date (Year.Month)

Historic S&P 500 Index Reference Data
Calculated Results Beginning Date Ending Date
Date (Month, Year)
Index Price
Dividend Yield [%]
Price Earnings Ratio
Consumer Price Index
Annualized Rates of Change Between Selected Dates (Unadjusted for Inflation)
Calculated Results Values
Index Rate of Return without Dividend Reinvestment [%]
Index Rate of Return with Full Dividend Reinvestment [%]
Annualized Rates of Change Between Selected Dates (Adjusted for Inflation)
Calculated Results Values
Inflation Rate [%]
Index Rate of Return without Dividend Reinvestment [%]
Index Rate of Return with Full Dividend Reinvestment [%]

Who knows? Maybe this tool will end up on EH.NET!

Update 16 July 2009: We now have a tool that you can use to find the inflation-adjusted value of a one-time or series of hypothetical investments in the S&P 500 between any two months since January 1871: Investing Through Time!

Approximate Schedule of Updates

We update our S&P 500 performance tool each month after the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the previous month's Consumer Price Index for Urban areas, which we use to determine the real rates of return for the S&P 500 through that month. Here is the latest schedule of releases from the BLS.

Update Notes

We periodically update the earnings and dividend data used in the tool presented on this page as this data is revised by Standard & Poor. The log below describes the major revisions we've made to our tool over its history.

  • 4 April 2022: S&P hasn't yet reported the quarterly dividend figure for 2022-Q1 in any of the usual places (at this writing), so we're going forward with an estimate that is subject to revision. We'll update this note when it has either been confirmed or revised. Update 9 April 2022: We've confirmed the estimate!
  • 2 April 2020: We're experimenting with implementing updates shortly after month end using the Financial Forecast Center's monthly forecast for the Consumer Price Index, which we'll supersede with the official figure from the Bureau of Labor Statistics later in the month after it is released. The change only affects inflation-adjustment calculations involving the most recently reported month, and only until it has been superseded with the official figure.
  • 21 February 2014: Updated code to handle triple-digit earnings.
  • 19 November 2008: We've modified our calculations for adjusting the nominal rates of return for inflation to be more precise. We had previously been using the Fisher equation to find the real rates of return.
  • 14 May 2008: Recalculated all between-quarter dividend and earnings data to minimize rounding errors. This change primarily affects older data (post-2000 data is unaffected) and will only have a slight effect upon dividend reinvestment calculations for very long term investments.
  • June 2007: Bonus update! S&P has made minor revisions in its earnings and dividend data going back to September 2004. In making these adjustments, we realized that we could project the index's quarterly dividend levels pretty accurately, so we can now do monthly updates! Now, the only thing we need to wait for is the inflation data that is released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics sometime in the third week of each month before next updating the tool all the way through the end of the previous month!

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About Political Calculations

Welcome to the blogosphere's toolchest! Here, unlike other blogs dedicated to analyzing current events, we create easy-to-use, simple tools to do the math related to them so you can get in on the action too! If you would like to learn more about these tools, or if you would like to contribute ideas to develop for this blog, please e-mail us at:

ironman at politicalcalculations

Thanks in advance!

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