The S&P 500 has glided to one its best starts to a year in three decades — but has just barely recovered the losses inflicted by its worst December since 1931.
The advance has been impressively broad and persistent over the past nine weeks — yet the S&P is only now challenging the level, near 2,800, where rallies failed three times last fall.
The market has shrugged off evidence of an economic and earnings slowdown — but have investors already priced in positive outcomes on trade policy and the Federal Reserve that remain uncertain?
In other words, the market has made an impressive run, right to a key proof point. The first time the S&P 500 reached 2,800 was mid-January 2018, near the end of a giddy, headlong rush higher in the wake of the new corporate tax cut and in a rare moment of globally inclusive economic pep.
The last time the S&P closed above 2,800 was Nov. 8 and the last time it touched that threshold was Dec. 3 — the day the year-end free-fall got rolling.
So with the 2019 rebound rally on apparent autopilot, here's a check of the technical, sentiment, valuation and cross-asset gauges that could indicate whether the market is in a sturdy ascent as it reaches this critical altitude.