In 2014, the total return for the S&P 500 Index, including reinvested dividends, was roughly 11 percent, reports MarketWatch. The average annual return for the S&P 500 between 1928 and 2014 was around 10 percent, according to Investopedia. Adjusted for inflation, however, the average annual return was only 7 percent.
Several sectors of the S&P 500 experienced total returns far in excess of the historical average in 2014, including the utilities and health care sectors, which each increased in value by slightly more than 25 percent, according to MarketWatch. The information technology and consumer staples sectors also experienced large returns. Information technology gained 17 percent, while consumer staples gained 14 percent.
Between 1926 and 2013, the S&P 500 experienced positive returns 73 percent of the time, or 64 of the 88 years, claims Franklin Templeton Investments. However, measuring returns over a 10-year period, the S&P 500 experienced a positive total return 95 percent of the time.
The S&P 500 is a group of 500 stocks, selected by market capitalization, liquidity and industry, intended to reflect the overall makeup of the stock market as a whole, explains Investopedia. Market analysts consider the S&P 500 the leading indicator of the health of both the stock market and the U.S. economy.