In a year when the S&P 500 hit all-time highs every four days, Friday’s elevation looked like nothing special. But here’s the twist: It marked a seventh straight session of records, a feat not seen since 1997.
The benchmark index extended its longest rally since last August as data showed that U.S. job growth surged the most in 10 months, while the unemployment rate edged up to 5.9%. The report helped bolster views that the Federal Reserve won’t rush to tighten monetary policy any time soon and risk stifling the economic recovery from the pandemic.
“Things are opening up quite nicely and that’s what the equity markets are reacting to — the S&P 500 is making new highs every day,” Krishna Memani, chief investment officer at Lafayette College said in an interview with Jonathan Ferro on Bloomberg TV. Fed policy makers “want to wait and see how things are going to open up and the payrolls data from that perspective basically reinforces their thinking.”
Buttressed by massive monetary and fiscal stimulus, stocks have staged an epic rebound from the 2020 bear market. Up more than 90% over 15 months, the S&P 500’s return over the span is the best since the 1930s at this point of a cycle.
The robust rally came amid unprecedented investor appetite. In the first half of 2021, almost $600 billion poured into global equity funds, a pace that if annualized would surpass the total inflows from all the precious 20 years, data compiled by Bank of America Corp. show.
To be sure, the latest advance came without much fireworks — the S&P 500’s daily gains were all bellow 1%. Still, if history is any guide, investors may consider staying invested after continuous breakouts like this. Since 1927, the S&P 500 has achieved similarly prolonged stretches of record highs in 12 other instances. All but one were followed by higher prices three months later, with gains averaging 2.6%.