The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose to an all-time high Thursday, wiping out losses from the financial crisis, as economic growth slowed less than previously estimated and concern about Europe's debt crisis eased.
The S&P 500 closed up 6.34, or 0.41% to 1,569.19, above its record of 1,565.15 from Oct. 9, 2007.
The S&P 500's advance above its record close marks a recovery from a bear market that wiped out more than $10 trillion of value from the world's largest stock market. The gauge rose 10% for the quarter, its best performance in a year. It still remains below an all-time intraday high of 1,576.09. The Dow first surpassed its 2007 record on March 5.
Shares of American companies are rallying as their profits expand for a third straight year and the Federal Reserve commits to continuing its unprecedented monetary stimulus. Reports this week showing a 5.7% jump in durable goods orders and the biggest increase since 2006 for the S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices in 20 cities were among the latest data points to fuel optimism in the economy.
Gains Thursday came as gross domestic product rose at a 0.4% annual rate in the last three months of 2012, up from a 0.1% prior estimate and following a 3.1% pace in the third quarter, revised Commerce Department figures showed Thursday. The reopening of banks in Cyprus after being closed since March 16 eased concern about Europe's debt crisis.
The four-year bull market has sent the S&P 500 up more than 131% since it reached a 12-year low of 676.53.
“This has been a very broad-based rally in equities; it's been global,” Stephen Wood, who helps manage about $163 billion as the chief market strategist for North America at Russell Investments, said by telephone. “Many fundamentals haven't changed all that much in recent weeks and months, but it's becoming apparent that momentum and sentiment are changing.”