Before the market opened the preliminary report on April Retail Sales showed a 0.1% increase. Small though it was (with a ±0.3% confidence), it beat the consensus. But futures were down and the S&P 500 opened lower anyway. In fact the index slid to its intraday low, off 0.43% about 25 minutes later. It then reversed directions to its intraday high, up a mere 0.14% during the lunch hour. The index then zigzagged to a flat finish. Technically, however, the final tally was a new all-time closing high by a teeny weeny 7 basis points. If you're partial to percents (I am), that's a gain of 0.004%.
Here is a 5-minute chart of the day.
As we've regularly seen in daily charts, the tiny new high was not accompanied by volume, which Monday was 17% below its 50-day moving average. The last four sessions, three out of four being all-time highs, have remained in a fairly narrow trading range.
The S&P 500 is now up 14.55% for 2013.
Click to enlarge
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.