Looking at a chart of SPY on finance.yahoo.com from March 1 - Nov 30, 2018, it returned +1.67 (+0.61%). Does the +0.61% include dividends?

Looking at the historical data, dividends are displayed https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/SPY/history?p=SPY but I'm not sure if the 0.61% number needs to be adjusted in some way.


The one day change in the SPY from 11/29 to 11/30 is + $1.67 (+0.61%). It is not the return for the period of March 1 - Nov 30, 2018.

Yahoo provides the actual close and the adjusted close. For example, if you bought 100 share of SPY at the 9/20 close of $293.58 then close on 9/21 would be $291.99. 9/21 was the ex-div date for $1.323. Your equity position would be down $1.59 but you would be receiving $1.323 on the Pay Date. Therefore, your actual loss was 27 cents.

The adjusted close takes the dividend into account. $291.99 from 9/21 less $292.26 from 9/22 is the same loss of 27 cents.

Reinvesting the dividends would change these numbers slightly because each reinvested dividend would have a different cost basis. Not reinvesting the dividends for March 1 to Nov 30, 2018 would have performed slightly better because 2 of the 3 dividends received during this time period would have been reinvested at higher prices.

  • So I the simple answer is that +0.61% does not account for reinvested dividends? – 4thSpace Dec 2 '18 at 22:03
  • The simple answer is that +.61% is the one day change in the SPY from 11/29 to 11/30. There are no dividends to account for. – Bob Baerker Dec 2 '18 at 22:21
  • What does that say about the period from 3/1 - 11/30? Still +.61? – 4thSpace Dec 3 '18 at 2:02
  • @4thSpace: It doesn’t say much at all. If I tell you that it rained yesterday, can you know whether it was a dry or wet summer? – chirlu Dec 3 '18 at 12:03
  • If you bought stock for $10 Friday morning and it was up $1 by the end of the day, you made up 10%. If your stock paid 3 dividends earlier this year, what do those dividends have to do with your 10% gain? Nothing. It's the same deal with your question. SPY was up .61% on Friday. Period. End of story. – Bob Baerker Dec 3 '18 at 12:29

As Bob (correctly!) responded, SPY does not include dividends.

Yahoo offers a look at the S&P Total return ^SP500TR which easily lets you calculate the total return between two dates. The only downside is this started in 1988.

  • It shows +.84%, just a little more then SPY. I'm guessing it has factored in the dividend. – 4thSpace Dec 3 '18 at 14:14

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