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S&P 500 Closes at All-Time High

Bear market was quickest on record
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 18, 2020 3:26 PM CDT

(Newser) – Wall Street clawed back the last of the historic, frenzied losses unleashed by the coronavirus, as the S&P 500 closed at an all-time high Tuesday. The day’s move was a relatively mild one, nudging the index up 7.79 points, or 0.2%, to 3,389.78. That eclipses the S&P 500's previous record closing high of 3,386.15, which was set Feb. 19, before the pandemic shut down businesses around the world and knocked economies into their worst recessions in decades, the AP reports. The S&P 500's milestone caps a furious, 51.5% rally that began in late March. The index, which is the benchmark for many stock funds at the heart of 401(k) plans, is now up nearly 5% for the year.

The stock market’s sprint back to an all-time high also means that the gut-wrenching, nearly 34% plunge for the S&P 500 from Feb. 19 through March 23 was the quickest bear market on record, clocking in at just one month. By comparison, it's taken the average bear market 19.6 months to bottom out, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. Tremendous amounts of aid from the Federal Reserve and Congress helped launch the rally, which built higher on signs of budding growth in the economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 66.84 points, or 0.2%, to 27,778.07. It remains 6% below its record set in February. The Nasdaq composite had already returned to a record, thanks to huge gains for the big tech stocks that dominate it. It hit a new one Tuesday, climbing 81.12 points, or 0.7%, to 11,210.84.

(Read more stock market stories.)

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