The Nasdaq Composite clinched a new closing record on Monday, exceeding the peak from August 6, finishing up 1%.
But it was the sole record on a day that looked like it could have clinched two. The S&P 500, the broadest measure of Wall Street, ended just an inch below its February record.
The message is clear: Wall Street is apparently unfazed by the collapsed stimulus negotiations in Washington, renewed US-China tensions and the ongoing pandemic.
It would have been a big deal if the S&P had hit a new record, and it might still in the next few days: Finally hitting the all-time high would mean that it took the S&P about five months to go from low point — during the pandemic selloff in March — to new record. The index, which is the broadest measure of America’s stock market, has been close to record territory for some time now, but it hasn’t managed to quite get there.
By some definitions, this would ring in the end of the 2020 pandemic bear market, making it the shortest in history at just 1.1 months, according to to S&P Dow Jones Indices’ Howard Silverblatt.
But by other definitions, we’ll need to wait another month to have confirmation of a new bull market. According to CFRA Research, a bull market is defined as a 20% rally off the prior low that doesn’t get undercut within six months. The S&P is well on track to meet these criteria in September.
Stocks have been roaring back since the worldwide Covid-19 outbreak put a harsh stop to the last bull rally. Unprecedented amounts of stimulus dollars from the federal government and the Federal Reserve helped the market recover in the late spring and early summer months. And a rally in tech stocks boosted the buying frenzy even more.
That is why investors seem to have turned a blind eye to the uncertainties that remain in the face of the pandemic: the recovery of the US economy remains fragile and the virus continues to infect people. Plus, potential wave of evictions as well as social inequities as a result of the crisis could be on the horizon.