|by Adam Shell, USA TODAY|
The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index crossed the 2000 level for the first time in early trading Monday, the latest stock market milestone in the powerful bull market that began in
The benchmark U.S. stock index topped the psychologically important 2000 mark at
It took just 94 days to climb from 1900 to 2000, putting an exclamation point on a bullish 12-month period for the S&P 500 in which it plowed through 1700, 1800 and 1900 on its way to its maiden voyage above 2000, according to data from S&P Dow Jones Indices.
Since the bull market began on
It took the S&P 500 more than 16 years to double in value from 1000 to 2000. It first crossed the 1000 level on
The large-company stock index's forward progress was slowed by the stock market routs following the 2000 technology-stock crash and the 2008-09 financial crisis. It took the index more than 13 years to go from 1500 (
The rally in stocks Monday was powered by more deal activity in corporate America, including a report that fast-food giant
In late morning trading, the S&P was up 0.7% to 2001 and hit an intraday record of 2001.95. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.7% to 17,123 and the Nasdaq composite index gained 0.7% to 4568.
Stocks have rallied three straight weeks as investors bet on signs of an improving U.S. economy and react to a better-than-expected second-quarter earnings season, where companies in the S&P 500 posted profit growth of 8.4%. Strong incoming data on the economy has enabled investors to shrug off geopolitical worries. The stock market, however, is no longer deemed cheap; some argue that the market is trading inline with historical norms, while bears warn that stocks are getting pricey.
In anticipation of 2000 on the S&P 500, a trio of
Despite the higher price targets, the additional gains predicted are not in the double-digit percentage gain category. If the S&P 500 climbs to 2100, for example, that equates to a gain of 5%.