The Dow gained more than 100 points in midday trading Monday to top the psychologically key 18,000 level for the first time in intraday trading since July 21, 2015. The index's last close above that level was on July 20.
Between that time and intraday trade Monday, McDonald's has soared more than 30 percent and Home Depot and Microsoft have climbed nearly 20 percent as the top three gainers in the Dow.
Beaten-down Dow components could also be on their way to recovery, as some of the index's worst performers since last July were top contributors to gains in the Dow on Monday.
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Walt Disney jumped about 2.5 percent as the top contributor to advances, but is down about 15 percent since July 20 as the fourth-worst Dow performer.
Other battered names could also recover after their earnings reports.
IBM is due to report after the close Monday and is down about 12 percent since the Dow's last close above 18,000. Goldman Sachs has suffered the most with a decline of 25 percent and is scheduled to post earnings before the open Tuesday.
Financials have dominated the initial earnings reports, which have mostly beat lowered expectations. That has helped the sector recover as the top performer in the last five trading days, although it remains the third worst over the last 12 months.
First-quarter S&P 500 earnings per share are expected to drop more than 8 percent for a third straight quarter of decline.
However, Stovall noted that while such earnings recessions typically precede economic ones, the decline in earnings is due mostly to the plunge in energy prices.
Encouragingly, U.S. crude oil futures are up more than 50 percent from their 52-week low of $26.21 a barrel hit on Feb. 11. Even after the failure of major oil producers to agree on an output freeze this past weekend, WTI recovered from a sharp overnight decline to trade near $40 a barrel, about $10 below the $50 levels of July 20. Traders attributed some support, at least in the short term, to Kuwait production cuts due to a strike.
The recovery in oil prices has helped energy stocks, the worst S&P 500 performers over the last 12 months. A cyclical rotation will also support gains in the second-worst performers, materials.
The positive momentum could be enough to send the S&P 500 and Dow to their all-time highs reached last May.
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While soaring past those levels is likely tough, especially if oil reverses sharply, "I think there is some real power behind this recovery and it could push us to new all-time highs," Stovall said.