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S&P 500 hits new highs after seven-month break

The S&P 500 reached another high midday Thursday, rising to 2,930 from Wednesday's close of 2,908. While the index has dipped slightly from that mark, should it close above 2,914 it will be the 19th record high in 2018, down significantly from 2017's full year count of 62 highs. Comparatively, the Dow Jones industrial average has reached 11 highs so far in 2018 but has yet to record one since January. In 2017, the DJIA hit 71 highs, 29 of which came in the fourth quarter as it shot toward the 25,000 mark.

The S&P 500, along with the Dow, built on 2017's momentum in the first month of 2018 before market volatility -- driven primarily by geopolitical issues -- muted equity returns.

Year-to-date, the average price-earnings ratio was 20.93 and 19.03 for the S&P index and DJIA, respectively. The S&P's average valuation metric declined from the previous year for the first time since 2012.