The S&P 500 finished 2019 up nearly 30 percent on the year, the strongest performance for that index in six years. The tech-heavy Nasdaq did even better, posting a gain of 35 percent, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 22 percent.
But the gains were a bit wind-aided: One of the keys to the 2019 success was starting from a low base. The S&P 500 ended 2018 with a loss of more than 6 percent, closing the year at 2,486. It finished 2019 trading at 3,220.
Still, the S&P is closing 2019 about 10 percent above 2018′s high of roughly 2,900. Even measuring from that high point, the market in 2019 was close to the average return for the S&P 500 of 9.8 percent.