S&P 500 New All-Time Highs: A Look Back at the Index's Major Milestones

Jacob Harper  |

On Oct 18 the S&P 500 closed at 1744.50. As the index closes in on 1750 amid the positive economic climate created by the end of the shutdown and the avoidance of a possible default, we look at what was going on in the country when the S&P hit other notable benchmarks in its history.

1923: Standard & Poor introduce their index, which originally includes 233 companies.

March 4, 1957: The S&P 500 takes on its modern form, including the 500 biggest companies intended to fully represent the American market.

June 1968: The S&P touches 100. The Vietnam War is in full swing, and a string of student uprisings in France that threaten to spread socialist revolution throughout the continent are quelled.

March 24, 1995: The S&P 500 hits its eponymous 500.

February 22, 1997: The S&P 500 hits 800 as the housing boom gears up. The first signs in any cracks in the ongoing boom are revealed during the first pangs of the Asian Financial Crisis, as Japan continues to endure their “lost decade.”

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February 2, 1998: Less than a year later, the S&P 500 continues rising, and hits 1000. The tech bubble begins inflating, as tech stocks built on flimsy ideas with little to no profit begin fetching astronomical prices.

December 21, 1998: The S&P hits 1200a scant ten months after it went over 1000.  The next year, there would be 457 IPOs, most of which would be tech companies looking to strike gold.

July 9, 1999: The S&P goes over 1400. Nobody seems to think this is suspicious that the S&P is climbing so fast. 117 companies that IPO this year double in price on the same day, either implying analysts don’t know what they’re talking about or people are wildly overvaluing stocks in their exuberance. Since this period is called the “tech bubble,” it’s kind of easy to guess which one it was.

Mar 22, 2000: The piercing of the bubble begins right after the S&P breaks1500, and the S$P sinks. And sinks, losing almost half its value by July 2002. The S&P would recover, however, assisted by another bubble: the housing bubble. The S&P would almost precisely mirror the boom and bust that happened from 1998-2000, with almost the same peaks and valleys. But in another six years…

May 3, 2013: Thirteen years after first breaking 1500, the S&P finally reaches 1600 as the economy finally begins showing real signs of recovery, assisted greatly by quantitative easing.

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