The Standard & Poor's 500 index today was within a percentage point of the best yearly gain in a decade, Bloomberg reported.

 

The S&P 500 rose 0.5 percent to 1,752.45 after closing at a record yesterday, bringing its increase since December to 22.9 percent. A rise to 1,761 would surpass the 23.5 percent gain in 2009 and would put the S&P in position to hit the 2003 climb of 26.4 percent.

 

Unlike in 2003, though, this year's gains are built on strength rather than the technology bubble. The S&P followed its 2003 gains with a 49 percent drop after the technology bubble burst.

 

The stock market rise is particularly helping CEOs, according to an article in USA Today.

 

By cashing in on stock options they got when the market was down, CEOs saw their 2012 "realized" pay jump by a median 8.5 percent, according to a study released by GMI Ratings, which looked at money paid to 2,259 CEOs who have served at least two years.

 

The total of the top 10 biggest CEO payouts in the analysis was $4.7 billion, the largest total ever recorded by GMI.

 

GMI Ratings is a company that keeps data on risks affecting the performance of public companies.