The total return of a stock index like the S&P 500, which is widely quoted as a benchmark for stock performance, is a calculation that depends on the change in the index, either positive or negative, plus reinvested dividends. Since an index is not an investment, but a statistical computation, however, the reinvestment occurs only on paper—or more precisely, in a software program. Rather than reinvesting dividends in the stocks that pay them, the index provider reinvests all dividends in the index as a whole. Total return on an index is calculated daily, though the results are more typically provided as monthly, annual, or annualized figures, expressed as a percentage. Capitalization-weighted indexes are designed to reflect the economic impact of companies with the highest market capitalization. Market cap is calculated by multiplying the number of shares
by the stock’s current market price. The majority of indexes are capitalization weighted, including the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite Index. Total return, as it applies to an equity index, is a calculation that reflects the positive or negative change in the index plus any reinvested dividends. Most equity indexes report their return two ways, one that is price return only and the other,   Read more…