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Expand chart
Chart: Axios Visuals

The S&P 500 crossed the 4,000 mark on Thursday, a little over a year after the index hit its pandemic low.

Why it matters: Stocks don't only go up. From a peak of 1,552 at the height of the dot-com bubble in 2000, the S&P 500 dropped to a low of 667 in 2009, at the worst point of the financial crisis. Since then, however, the strength of the stock market's 12-year ascent has astonished investors and market strategists.

  • Thursday's milestone represents a near doubling of the index since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March of last year, when the index hit a low of 2,192.

The big picture: The S&P 500 is accelerating, hitting milestone markers more quickly.

  • The index hit 3,000 mark for the first time ever as recently as in July 2019. It has taken less than seven years to double after reaching the 2,000 mark in August 2014.
  • By contrast, it took the index more than 16 years to double from the 1,000 point mark, which it first hit in February 1998.

Go deeper

Home prices saw largest annual gain in nearly 15 years

Expand chart
Data: FRED; Chart: Axios Visuals

Home prices saw the biggest annual gain in close to 15 years this January, according to the Case-Shiller index.

The big picture: Phoenix, Seattle and San Diego saw the highest year-over-year home price gains.

Rebounding confidence suggests big March jobs number

Data: The Conference Board; Chart: Axios Visuals

Confidence is returning to U.S. consumers as the government ramps up big spending programs that are putting money directly in Americans' bank accounts and COVID-19 vaccinations increase.

Why it matters: The return of confidence itself is reassuring, but more economists also are expecting that a major increase in hiring this month is behind the improvement.

Mortgage applications keep falling, home prices keep rising

Data: Investing.com; Chart: Axios Visuals

The total number of U.S. mortgage applications declined last week for the fourth straight week, and the ninth time in 11 weeks, data released this morning by the Mortgage Bankers Association showed.

Why it matters: The consistent downturn in applications shows just how much the housing market has weakened since January when mortgage rates hit all-time lows, and unlike in February when economists pointed their fingers at cold weather, this slump appears to be market-driven.