S&P 500 reaches all-time high amid economic optimism

The S&P 500 was trading well above yesterday’s close as the US index, up over 5%, continued its recent resurgence. The index reached an all-time high before 11am local time at a decimal point below 3,950 points. The S&P 500 was up 20% on its peak prior to the coronavirus-induced crash.

With high oil prices, along with optimism around vaccine roll-outs and a pending stimulus package, confidence in the US economy is growing.

“News of falling infection rates in the US is helping to feed the optimism as the Biden administration inches towards getting its $1 trillion-plus Covid relief package through Congress,” said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

“The only creeping nervousness at present appears to be around the prospects for significant inflation driven by a combination of the emergence from Covid, generous stimulus packages and rising raw materials costs,” Mould added.

S&P 500 movers

At the top of the pile, Apache (6.84%), Marathon Oil Corp (5.87%) and Carnival Corp (5.49%), were the best performing stocks on Monday morning out of America’s top 500 companies. 

At the other end TechnipFMC (19.5%) dropped sharply as the company completed its split into two separate entities. The index’s other big fallers were NRG Energy (-6.51%) and Juniper Networks (-4.77%).  

Oil prices

A key driver of the S&P 500’s recent gains is the increase in oil prices. The commodity soared to its highest point since January 2020 as a cold spell in energy-rich Texas intensified demand.

Brent crude oil was up as high $63.76 before coming back down to $63.25 at midday. An increase of its opening price of 1.3%. West Texas Intermediate reached as high as $60.85, before settling at around $60.0, a rise of 1.9% from market opening.

Stimulus nears

On his first official trip outside of the US capital, Joe Biden will appeal directly to the public in a bid to pressure Congress to finalise a stimulus package.

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