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Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

The S&P 500 is 1.4%, or 43 points, away from the all-time high it hit in September thanks in large part to this year's strong first quarter, which was the best 3-month start since 1998.

The big picture: The index has history on its side. Per LPL Research, when the S&P has stayed above its low point in December during the first quarter, it has ended the year higher 34 out of the last 34 times.

Between the lines: That's a strong track record, but stocks so far have been relying on some optimistic assumptions.

  • "The market has priced in" some semblance of a U.S.-China trade deal that would ease tariff pain as well as an orderly end to Brexit, Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives at the Schwab Center for Financial Research, tells Axios. Investors are also optimistic about lower-for-longer interest rates.

The problem: These are all far from sure bets.

What to watch: The market is not pricing in an escalation of U.S.-E.U. trade tensions, Frederick says.

Go deeper: The stock market loves nothing more than to climb a wall of worry

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

Fauci says if people won't wear masks, maybe it should be mandated

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Graeme Jennings- Pool/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Friday evening that if "people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it."

Why it matters: Fauci made the comments the same day the U.S. hit its highest daily COVID-19 case count since the pandemic began.

Harris to Black voters: Casting a ballot is about honoring your ancestors

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris speaks at a "Get Out The Vote" rally at Morehouse College. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Kamala Harris appealed to Black voters in Georgia on Friday, urging them to "honor the ancestors" by casting ballots, and again calling President Trump a "racist."

Why it matters: The U.S. saw a significant decline in African-American voter turnout between 2012 and 2016, reaching its lowest point since 2000. Higher turnout among Black Americans this year could tip the balance in favor of Democrats in key battleground states, including Georgia.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci: Trump hasn't been to a COVID task force meeting in months.
  2. Sports: The youth sports exodus continues — Big Ten football is back.
  3. Health: U.S. hits highest daily COVID-19 case count since pandemic began —AstraZeneca to resume vaccine trial in U.S.How to help save 130,000 lives.
  4. Retail: Santa won't greet kids at Macy's this year.
  5. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.

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