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S&P builds on fourth quarter rally and then some

The S&P 500 ended the first quarter up 6.1% on a total return basis. The average holding returned 5.7%, and 72.3% of the underlying stocks ended the quarter in positive territory.

The first quarter was the best performing three-month period since the fourth quarter of 2015 when the index returned 7% following a -6.4% third-quarter return.

Since Sept. 30, the index is up 10.1%, its best six-month period since 2013's bull run. The first quarter of 2017 had less downside than the prior quarter, with an average return of -6.7%, compared to -7.6% in the prior quarter. On the upside, the average positive return was 10.5%, while fourth quarter 16 had an average positive return of 12.5%.