The Standard and Poors 500 Index
The Standard and Poors 500 Index, better known as the S&P 500, is considered by most to show the most accurate course of the U.S. markets.
It consist of 500 stocks that are chosen based on certain criteria to represent the U.S. markets and to basically set a benchmark for the markets.
One of the oldest index funds traded through Vanguard is based on the S&P 500. Trading this fund will give you an average return of about 8-12 percent a year. It is basically said many investors can not beat this benchmark of 10 percent investing in individual stocks by themselves. So if you can not beat the market why not at least match it.
Index fund investing is one of the best ways to at least match market expectations.