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Ben Carlson

A Year of Double-Digit Gains Is the Norm for Stocks

The average annual increase of 21 percent and the average annual loss of 14 percent offer a wide range to work with.
Peaks and valleys.

Peaks and valleys.

Photographer: Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images

Barring a collapse in the last few weeks of the year, U.S. stocks will post their ninth consecutive calendar-year gain once you include dividends. The only other time the S&P 500 has advanced for nine straight years on the basis of total returns was in the 1990s, when stocks were positive every year from 1991 to 1999.

The S&P 500 has returned 20.5 percent in 2017. So this will also mark the seventh year out of the past nine that it has finished with a double-digit gain.