As the chart below shows, 2017 was certainly a welcome, but rare occurrence. Looking at data going back to 1928, 2017 was the first “calendar" year for which every month was positive based on the S&P 500’s total return. Also, the overall fourteen months of consecutive positive returns was only eclipsed by a fifteen month run back in 1959-1960. The chart below reminds investors that the market on average has always taken a step or two back prior to moving 3 or 4 steps forward. Since 2009, the S&P 500 is up over 200%, even with those “steps back" (down bars) in the illustration.