The U.S stock market averages a return rate of 11.69 percent based on Standard and Poor's 500, or S&P, a leading market index. The return rate is based on yearly averages that date back to 1926, according to leading financial expert Dave Ramsey.
The average return of a stock market index does not guarantee an investor a certain rate of return in any particular year. For example, in the 1990s, the rate of return on the S&P was much higher than normal, about 19 percent. The return rate fell below the historical average, however, during the first decade of the current century.