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Source: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

The S&P 500 closed at a new high on Tuesday for the first time since February, before the coronavirus pandemic was declared.

Why it matters: It’s among the fastest-ever recoveries on record and comes as millions of Americans remain out of work during one of the worst economic downturns in U.S. history.

  • Further coronavirus spread is expected to hamper any sign of a recovery.
  • Meanwhile, the stock market has been grinding higher amid unprecedented actions from the Federal Reserve and fiscal support from Congress, though the prospects of another stimulus package remain uncertain.

The backstory: The S&P 500 closed up 0.23% to surpass the previous record close of 3,386.15 set on Feb. 19.

  • As the coronavirus began to spread in the U.S. and states started to mandate closures, the stock market began a steep decline and eventually fell 34% to its pandemic low-point on March 23.

Between the lines: This is the shortest period of time it's taken for the S&P 500 to set a new record after a previous bull market high, per Barron's.

  • CNBC notes that it's the third-fastest rally ever when measured from the time it took for the S&P to reach a new high after its bottom.

Worth noting: The Nasdaq, which also closed at a new record today, was the first to recover and continued to hit highs in recent weeks, powered by high-flying tech stocks.

  • The Dow is still roughly 5% below the all-time high set in February, though it's rallied more than 50% from its low point during the stock market's sell-off in March.

Go deeper

Dow hits 30,000 for the first time

A trader outside the New York Stock Exchange in early November. (Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded above 30,000 for the first time ever on Tuesday.

Between the lines: The milestone is symbolic — the Dow hitting 30,001, for instance, is no less significant. However, it underscores the stock market's meteoric rebound from the onset of the coronavirus pandemic: just 8 months ago, the Dow traded below 19,000.

Wall Street bets it all on a vaccine

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

It's the time of year when Wall Street shops are rolling out predictions for where they see the stock market headed in the coming year. There's one common theme: Widespread distribution of a vaccine is the reason to be bullish.

Why it matters: Analysts say vaccines will help the economy heal, corporate profits rebound and stock market continue its upward trajectory.

2 hours ago - Health

CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers

Travelers with their luggage arrive at a COVID-19 testing location at the airport in Los Angeles, Calif., on Nov. 23, 2021. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday night that it is working to impose stricter testing requirements for international travelers due to the spread of the new Omicron variant.

The big picture: The new rules would require all international travelers, regardless of vaccination status, to show a negative test taken a day before their flight to the U.S. Currently, the CDC says fully vaccinated travelers are allowed to show a test taken no more than three days before their departure, AP reports.