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Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

After gaining 7.8% in January, the S&P 500 has added another 3.3% so far in February for a year-to-date return of 11.4%.

The state of play: Barring a more than 3% drop today, the S&P will finish the month higher again. That's a strong historical indicator that the market will end higher for the year.

What they're saying: "Since 1938, there's been 30 years where both January and February have been positive. And 29 of those years out of 30 have ended up positive, and big, on average over 20 percent," Jodie Gunzberg, head of U.S. equities at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said on CNBC last week.

  • "We've never seen 2 months in a row ever to have every single segment of the U.S. equity market up."

On the other hand: This is the best first 2 months of the year since 1987. But 1987 turned out to be a rough year for the stock market.

  • Gunzberg's choice to use 1938 as the beginning point for the rosy stat is important. The S&P 500 had positive gains in January and February of 1930, 1931 and 1937 as well. Those were lean years for investors, with stock market drops of 25%, 44% and 35% respectively, including dividends (plus the Great Depression).

Go deeper: Annual Returns on the S&P 500, 10-year Treasury notes and 3-month T-Bills for every year since 1928

Go deeper

Restaurant software meets the pandemic moment

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Food delivery companies have predictably done well during the pandemic. But restaurant software providers are also having a moment as eateries race to handle the avalanche of online orders resulting from severe in-person dining restrictions.

Driving the news: Olo filed last week for an IPO and Toast is rumored to be preparing to do the same very soon.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
2 hours ago - Technology

How the automation economy can turn human workers into robots

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More than outright destroying jobs, automation is changing employment in ways that will weigh on workers.

The big picture: Right now, we should be less worried about robots taking human jobs than people in low-skilled positions being forced to work like robots.

House passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Photo: Screenshot via C-SPAN

The House approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on a 219-212 vote early Saturday morning, sending it to the Senate for a possible rewrite before it gets to Biden's desk.

The big picture: The vote was a critical first step for the package, which includes $1,400 cash payments for many Americans, a national vaccination program, ramped-up COVID testing and contact tracing, state and local funding and money to help schools reopen.

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