S&P 500 Returns 14.98% in Second Quarter

July 1, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) has just turned in its best performing quarter in the 18 tries, returning 14.98%.

For the quarter,469 of the 500 companies ended positive with an average gain of 24.42%, while the 30 issues that ended down, lost an average of 7.34%.   Of the up issues, five doubled, 38 were up 50% and 156 ended up 25%, according to a news release.

The market value of the S&P 500 has gained over $1.6 trillion since the start of the March 11, 2003 rally.   However, there is a lot of ground to be made up, as the index is still down $3.9 trillion from the March 24, 2000 high.

Companies have taken notice as well, with118 S&P 500 companies increasing or initiating their dividends in the first half of 2003, compared to 98 in the first half of 2002.   The 23.6% favorable dividend action compares to a 14.7% favorable for non-S&P 500 common issues.

However, dividend-paying issues have continued to under perform non-dividend paying issues in the S&P 500 in 2003, reversing last year’s trend.   The 356 companies in the S&P 500 that pay dividends had an average year-to-date total return of 10.22%, compared to the non-paying issues return of 28.65%.   From December 2001, however, the dividend payers lost 5.29%, while the non-paying issues lost 14.07%.