Stocks got off to a great start this year, with the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard and Poor's 500 posting impressive returns. These are some statistics about the January surge, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices:

BIGGEST GAIN: The Dow's 5.77 percent gain was its best January performance since 1994. It was also the biggest monthly advance since October 2011.

POINTS RECORD: The Dow gained 756.44 points in the month, that's the largest January points gain in its history.

BEST AND WORST: Hewlett-Packard was the best performing stock in the index gaining 15.9 percent. Bank of America was the worst, dropping 2.5 percent.

BEST SINCE 1997: The S&P 500 rose 5 percent in the month. It's best start since 1997.

HOW JANUARY GOES: The January Barometer, devised by the Stock Trader's Almanac, says that January returns often predict the market direction for the year. The indicator has an 88.9 percent accuracy rate, according to the newsletter.

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