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The S&P 500 got off to a weak start Tuesday. European indexes had paused from rally mode, and shortly after the US markets opened, the Chicago PMI showed a contraction in April, the first since September 2009. The 500 hit its intraday low, off 0.45%, about 15 minutes after the PMI report. But confidence returned with the better-than-expected Consumer Confidence report. The index was back in the green 90 minutes later and traded in a fairly narrow 3-point range during the afternoon. A surge near the bell lifted the index to its high for the day and a closing gain of 0.25%. The index finished April with a 1.81% advance, its sixth consecutive monthly gain.

Here is a 5-minute look at Tuesday.

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On a daily chart we see that Tuesday's all-time high was on slightly higher than average volume, some of which were no doubt month-end trade orders.

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The S&P 500 is now up 12.02% for 2013.

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For a better sense of how these declines figure into a larger historical context, here's a long-term view of secular bull and bear markets in the S&P Composite since 1871.

Source: S&P 500 Snapshot: Another All-Time High