Nasdaq sets new record, close to confirming bull market in place

FILE PHOTO: The Nasdaq logo is displayed at the Nasdaq Market site in New York, U.S., May 2, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

(Reuters) - The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC rose to a new high on Monday, and looks on track to confirm that it was the first of Wall Street's main indexes to enter a bull market two and a half months ago, after Wall Street's nosedive on worries about the novel coronavirus.

According to a widely accepted definition, the tech-heavy index must officially end above its record high close at 9,817.18 on Feb. 19, before the spread of COVID-19 closed economies across the globe, to designate that a new bull market began when it bottomed on March 23 to close at 6,860.674.

Monday marked back-to-back intraday records for the Nasdaq. On Friday it became the first of the big three indexes to bounce back to a record high.

Following Wall Street’s crash into bear territory in March, investors have bet on a revival in business activity with the easing of a nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the coronavirus.

The stock market is still buoyed by Friday’s surprisingly strong May U.S. jobs report, which gave the clearest signal yet that the worst of the downturn triggered by the pandemic was probably behind, although the road to recovery could still be long.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 35.35 points, or 0.36%, to 9,849.43 by early afternoon, peaking at 9,853.52. It is the largest 53-day gain since 2001.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 264.59 points, or 0.98%, at 27,375.57, and the S&P 500 .SPX gained 16.18 points, or 0.51%, to 3,210.11.

The Dow is about 7% from its record high in February and the S&P is around 5% below.

Reporting by Alden Bentley in New York; Additional reporting by Noel Randewich in San Francisco; Editing by Franklin Paul and Matthew Lewis