Thursday morning's initial unemployment claims came in much better than expected, and the S&P 500 opened high and continued in the same direction to the noon hour. After lunch the index traded in a narrow two-point range just below its intraday high, which was up 1.00%. The suspense, in the closing minutes, was whether the 500 would set a new closing all-time high. It did so in the absolute last minute of trading. The index finished with a gain of 0.94% and exactly two basis points above its previous all-time high set on Tuesday.
Here is a 5-minute look at Thursday.
Here is a 15-minute chart of the week so far, which shows the nearly identical loss-gain performance of the last two sessions.
Volume, however, isn't providing much confirmation for the all-time high. Here's a daily chart of the SPY ETF, which probably gives a better sense of trader mentality than the index itself. Volume was 28% below the 50-day moving average as compared to 10% below for the S&P 500 itself.
The S&P 500 is now up 12.02% for 2013.
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.