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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.

Updated 11 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — The recovery needs rocket fuel.
  2. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  3. Education: Devos extends federal student loan relief to Jan. 31
  4. States: New Mexico to allow hospitals to ration coronavirus medical care
  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.