The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index topped a fresh milestone Friday, closing above the 1900 level for the first time and highlighting the market's resilience and its fragility as the aging bull moves deeper into its fifth year.
Coming off its best year since 1997, Wall Street has endured a great deal of turbulence in the stock market this year, as one-time high-fliers in a small segment of the market suffered big declines -- renewing fears that the selling would spread to the more stable, blue-chip corner of the market.
But the S&P 500 has been able to shrug off the steep losses in small stocks and once-popular biotech and Internet names, regaining its upward trajectory as investors seek out more stable, less-pricey names.
On Friday, the benchmark index rose 8.02 points, or 0.4%, to 1900.53. It also took out its prior closing high of 1897.45 from May 13. Year to date, the S&P is now up 2.8%.
Gary Kaltbaum, president of Kaltbaum Capital Management, lauds the market's ability to avoid being dragged down by the stocks that got overly expensive and over-owned.
"For me, the most important part of the equation is the resilience," says Kaltbaum.
The market, of course, has overcome a nasty winter that hurt the economy, geopolitical fears abroad and the Federal Reserve' dialing back on its asset purchases.
Kaltbaum advises investors not to get overly bullish, however.
"It is just a round number," he says. "I wouldn't get too crazy over 1900. But the fact the S&P 500 cannot correct in a meaningful fashion is a sign of strength."
The move to new highs suggests the market's uptrend remains intact, in large part because interest rates remain low, says David Kotok, chief investment officer at Cumberland Advisors.
"The market has an upward bias," says Kotok. "It will continue to have it as long as the Fed holds interest rate near zero percent. A slow recovery in the economy means the Fed keeps rate near zero all of this year and some or all of 2015. (And that means the) market heads higher. Maybe, much higher."
Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial, offers a more cautious view on the market's outlook.
"Volume is light heading into the long weekend and light volume can skew market performance," says Krosby. "Unless the data floods the market with undeniably strong numbers, the most likely scenario is a sideways market."
Big round numbers like 1900 are often tough to barrel through easily, she adds.
"It is the big round number phenomenon, but if history is any guide, the market will keep testing the high number," says Krosby. "What you need is a number of sessions with strong volume and a broadening of participation to feel secure that the level will hold."
Don Luskin, chief investment officer at TrendMacro, says the recent market weakness is history.
"Round numbers are meaningless, but it's meaningful to make all-time highs," says Luskin. "The winter correction is over. Spring has sprung. It's going to be a very good year. The sector rotation out of growth stocks that had everyone scared in April is over, and in fact has reversed itself."