Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (John Moore / Getty Images )
NEW YORK -- The broad Standard & Poor's 500 index broke a half-decade-old record, another sign of stocks' continuing rally this year.
The S&P 500 added 6.34 points, or 0.41%, to 1,569.19 Thursday, the last trading day of the first quarter. The S&P 500 fell short of its all-time intra-day high of 1,576.09, however.
The index reached its previous all-time closing of 1,565.15 on Oct. 9, 2007, only weeks before the Great Recession officially began. The next year's financial crisis led the stock market to its low in March 2009.
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The Dow Jones industrial average, which hit its first new all-time high this month, added 52.38 points, or 0.36%, to 14,578.54 Thursday. The Nasdaq also ended higher, adding 11 points, or 0.34%, to 3,267.52.
The Federal Reserve has been pumping billions upon billions of dollars into the economy to push down interest rates and stimulate growth. Low rates have made savings accounts and bonds less attractive, luring investors into riskier assets like stocks.
But how long might the rally last? Some market experts caution the rally may slow in the next three months, and stocks could fall 5% to 10%, they say.
Eric Slover, an equity strategist at Barclays, sees signs the economy may slow in coming weeks and months. That could lead to a short-term pull-back in the stock market, he said.
Recent tax hikes, including those from the "fiscal cliff" deal reached in Washington, as well as the looming spending cuts from the budget "sequester," probably will drag on growth, he noted.
And worries over the European debt crisis have been renewed recently by Cyprus, and that could make investors jittery.
“There’s just a few signs that say the market’s set to take a little breather here,” Slover said.
While the last three years began with strong rallies followed by stock-market declines, Slover said: “We think this pullback could be much more benign, and a big part of that is you have the Fed behind you."
Join us for a live video discussion at 3 p.m. Pacific on the stock market moderated by deputy business editor Joe Bel Bruno. Bel Bruno will be chatting with business reporter Walter Hamilton and markets expert Tom Petruno.
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