The S&P 500 hit a major milestone on Friday, closing above the 5,000 level for the first time. This momentous occasion comes during a period of strong economic growth, the artificial intelligence revolution, a better-than-expected earnings season, and anticipation of a pivot from the Federal Reserve to start cutting rates.
On January 19, the benchmark index reached a new record for the first time in two years, closing at and besting its previous high of 4,796.56, reached on January 3, 2022. The index went on to set six new highs in January alone. When the S&P 500 sets a new high in January, according to Sam Stovall at CFRA Research, it reaches new highs in February about 75% of the time. When new highs are set in both months, he said, the index generated an average return of about 16% and ended the year higher about 88% of the time.
The S&P 500 jumped an impressive 24% in 2023, with stocks rallying powerfully at year end as optimism grew that the Fed could achieve a soft landing or tamp down inflation without triggering an economic downturn. The advance to new heights has been exceedingly narrow – most of the S&P