NEW YORK — There goes another stock market record.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 crossed into record territory Thursday morning, beating the closing high it set in pre-financial crisis days. Three weeks earlier, the Dow Jones industrial average beat its own 2007 record.
The S&P 500, a barometer that investors use to gauge how the market is performing, edged above the Oct. 9, 2007, record close of 1,565 about an hour into trading. It closed at 1,569.19, up more than 6 points from the day before, a small increase but notable for the milestone it obliterated.
Even as the S&P hit new peaks, investors noted that the U.S. economy’s footing is still uncertain, and the European debt crisis still far from resolved. Some also are concerned that the gains are being artificially fueled by the Federal Reserve’s easy-money policy.
“Getting back to where we were is an important step,” said Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices. But, he cautioned in a note to investors: “Markets are volatile, and if you are a long-term investor you should expect declines.”
For most of this year, the stock market has zoomed ahead. A mixed performance over the last two weeks, thanks to the bailout of cash-strapped Cyprus, has been more the exception than the rule. Thursday marks the end of first-quarter trading, as markets will be closed for the Good Friday holiday. The Dow is up 11 percent for the three-month period, the best performance in more than a year. Last year, it lost ground in two quarters and was up 4 percent and 8 percent in the other two.
The government reported that the U.S. economy grew faster than first estimated in the fourth quarter. But the growth, an annual rate of 0.4 percent, was still anemic. The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits jumped for the second consecutive week. On a longer time frame, though, jobless claims have been declining since November.