# How to factor dividends into SPX returns?

I'd like to calculate the return of the SPX from March 1, 2018 to July 31, 2018 with dividends included. SPX pays out a 1.80% dividend: https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/040915/does-sp-500-index-include-dividends.asp. Although, I don't know when they are paid out.

According to this calculator http://www.moneychimp.com/features/portfolio_performance_calculator.htm, returns during that time without dividends were 12.88% annualized.

``````start = 2677.67
end = 2816.29
months = 5.06
(difference = 138.62)
return = 12.88%
``````

I get a return of `5.18 x 2.37 = 12.28%` annualized.

How do I factor in dividends during the above time frame?

Money Chimp is great, it's what I look at, and quote for annual returns, for full calendar years. For what you seek, I suggest looking at ^SP500TR, the total return. When I discovered it, a few years back, I changed how I benchmark my own returns. For example, as of last night, I see an 8.10% YTD return. Easier than seeing the S&P is up 6.91% and needing to account for dividends.

For you, Feb 28 = 5308.09 , July 31 = 5549.96, a 4.5566% return for that period. 153 elapsed days. 365/153= 2.3856, 1.045566^2.3856 = 11.215% annualized

To calculate the return, I use the calculator at:

https://www.dividendchannel.com/drip-returns-calculator/

All you have to do is plug in the dates and it will do all of the heavy lifting. For example, for the SPY:

Growth of \$10,000.00 With Dividends Reinvested

Start date: 03/01/2018
End date: 07/31/2018
Start price/share: \$267.70
End price/share: \$281.33
Starting shares: 37.36
Ending shares: 37.67
Dividends reinvested/share: \$2.34
Total return: 5.99%
Annualized Gain: 14.47%
Starting investment: \$10,000.00
Ending investment: \$10,599.00
Years: 0.41

Growth of \$10,000.00 Without Dividends Reinvested

Start date: 03/01/2018
End date: 07/31/2018
Start price/share: \$267.70
End price/share: \$281.33
Dividends collected/share: \$2.34
Total return: 5.97%
Annualized Gain: 14.42%
Starting investment: \$10,000.00
Ending investment: \$10,597.00
Years: 0.41

• A couple of clarifications: "Without dividends" here apparently means accounting for dividends as cash but not reinvesting them. Also, the discrepancy between "with dividends reinvested" and JoeTaxpayer's numbers is mainly due to the different start date (2/28 vs. 3/1) and the fact that the S&P fell more than 1% on 3/1. Aug 8, 2018 at 18:19
• Yes, dividends collected and accounted for but not reinvested (edited that). Any difference b/t the two will be due to compounding with reinvestment. The discrepancy with JoeTaxpayer's numbers may be due to the starting date. It may also be due to the fact that many of these online calculators come up with slightly different results. I'm not going to take a deep dive into this to determine the cause. AFAIC, it's close enough for civil service work. Aug 8, 2018 at 19:25
• I assumed (?) that OP wanted the return/loss of 3/1 and my example started with the closing price of 2/28. When you (not you, anyone) ask for the 20xx return, I'd use 12/31 close for the year prior and year requested. No? Aug 8, 2018 at 21:56
• @JoeTaxpayer - I used the date of 3/01 since the OP cited that day's closing price of \$2,677.37 for the SPX as the opening price for his 5 month position. But I agree with you totally in that if one was trying to determine the performance for a given period of time, the first date used is the close of the day before the first date of the period. Eg. 12/31/17 to 12/31/17 would be the annual performance for 2017. Aug 8, 2018 at 22:19
• For consistency, I should rewrite my answer when back at computer. Aug 8, 2018 at 23:17