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As of 2/18/11 the S&P 500 was up 98.5% over 494 trading days. We took a look back at the market's history and calculated nominal returns over 494 trading days on a rolling basis since 1945. Those rolling returns are plotted in the chart below, with the red dotted line representing 2/18/11. As shown, this is the strongest gain over similar periods in the S&P 500's history. (There is pricing available for the S&P 500 prior to 1945, but Birinyi Associates has found those prices to be unreliable.)

Strongest gain ever
Source: S&P 500 Sees Strongest Gain Ever