High Hopes: S&P 500 Hits All-Time High Amid Pandemic/Recession

Key Points

  • The S&P 500 completed its round-trip, taking out February’s high and cementing that a new bull market has been underway since the March low.

  • Market breadth has been underwhelming; while the concentration of the largest five stocks remains a risk.

  • This was the fifth time in history that the market hit an all-time high while the economy was still in a recession.

The stock market rally off the March 23 low is now “officially” a new bull market, courtesy of the S&P 500 having hit a new all-time high. It was the fastest recovery in history to a new high following a decline of at least 30% historically (the S&P was down 34% from February 19 to March 23; also the fastest move in history from an all-time high to bear market territory). The table below highlights all round trips for the S&P 500 in its history; along with their length, depth and recovery statistics.

Source: Charles Schwab, Bespoke Investment Group LLC (B.I.G.), as of 8/24/2020. *20% decline from all-time high only reached on intraday basis.