The S&P 500 has done it: After several days of flirtation with its record high close, it managed to push above its 2007 high point on Thursday morning. At last look, the benchmark index was up 2.56 points or 0.2 per cent, to 1,565.41. (Update: It closed at about 1,569, up 6 points)
That edges past its record high close of 1,565.15, from October 2007.
This is a big deal: The Dow Jones industrial average blew past its high point some time ago. But because the Dow consists of just 30 stocks and is weighted according to stock price, rather than market capitalization, it is not seen as a good reflection of the U.S. equities landscape.
The S&P 500 is the world's biggest benchmark, given its high visibility, incredible corporate depth and the fact that the largest exchange-traded funds are pegged to it. So its rise to record-high territory, more than anything else, speaks volumes about the extent to which stocks have recovered from the bear market over the past four years.
Of course, the question now is: Now what. Even many bullish market watchers have been astounded by the gains of the stock market this year. Not only are the gains impressive, but they have come with remarkably little volatility – which has many concerned about what's coming.
As Michael Hartnett, chief investment strategist at Bank of America, put it in a note: "Monetary policy is the best explanation for the renaissance of equities. But while policy and flows have allowed stocks to rock in Q1, Q2 will likely be a 'show-me' quarter."