And even if the market rises only modestly from here, it could still make for a strong year. As Howard Silverblatt, an analyst at S&P, notes, January performance is a good indicator of annual performance. In 61 of the last 84 years the direction of the market in the first month matched the direction of the market for the year.
AP Business Writer Steve Rothwell contributed to this report.
Follow Jonathan Fahey on Twitter at http://twitter.com/JonathanFahey.