It was a day for the record books as the Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed and closed above 30,000 for the first time in history. The combination of positive vaccine news, the official transition from the Trump administration to the Biden administration acknowledged by President Trump, the naming of Janet Yellen as Biden's choice for Treasury secretary, and better economic reports overwhelmed investors with giddiness as they sent the 135-year-old index to an all-time high.

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Tuesday’s gains put the Dow up more than 13% for the month, which would be its biggest monthly gain since 1987. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq are up 11.2% and 10.1%, respectively, in November. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 are headed to their best monthly performances since April. The Russell 2000 also set an all-time high today as small cap stocks are in full bloom.

This new bull market for the S&P 500, which started in March after the indexes collapsed, has gained 62.1%. Although the average bull market has seen larger gains over time, the 109.8% annualized return for the S&P 500 is far and away the largest on record.

DJIA point chart

DJIA Tops a Milestone

In a recovery rally that has defied a global health pandemic and a nasty recession, the Dow Jones Industrial Average topped 30,000 for the first time as investors bet on a strong economic recovery. The milestone is even more significant given the depths of the stock market's plunge in late March of 2020. Since the lows of March 24, the Dow has rallied more than 60%, climbing from nearly 19,000, all the way through 30,000 in just eight months.

share price chart

The Dow Components Behind the Charge to 30,000

Today's DJIA looks different than it did a decade or two ago given the addition of mega-caps like Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), and Salesforce (CRM), and the subtraction of energy companies like ExxonMobil (XOM). Those widely held tech and tech-adjacent behemoths have helped power the index higher since it crossed 20,000 for the first time on Jan. 25, 2017. But other stocks, including Nike (NKE), Home Depot (HD), and Visa (V), have also contributed to the index's rise, while making enormous gains since the 20,000 threshold was first crossed.

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