Keeping Perspective In An Unreal Environment

(Friday, July 10, 2020, 7:03 p.m.) The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index surged 1% today on positive news about a coronavirus treatment.

The S&P 500 roughly tracks with the progress of civilization, but progress is unpredictable and hard to see one day at a time. 

Here's a snapshot depicting progress from a longer-term perspective: For the five years through June 30, 2020, the S&P 500 was No. 1 among the broadly diversified group of 13 asset classes listed here. Three months after the Covid crisis began, the U.S. stock market topped this long list of securities investments with a total return over the five years of 66.5%.

Closing Friday at 3,185.04, the S&P 500 posted a 1.74% gain over last week. It's up 35% from the March 23rd Covid-crisis bear market low.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 sent a bullish technical signal called a "golden cross," which has marked the end of previous bear markets. In addition, the index's 50-day average crossed above the 200-day average, another sign of strength.

Stock prices have swung wildly since the virus crisis started in March and it's wise to expect considerable volatility in the months ahead.

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