S&P/ASX 200 (ASX:XJO) Index hits record high

The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has hit a multi-year record high of 6,232.10, which is the highest it has been since the GFC.

Since the start of Friday last week the index has gone up by 3.6%, which is a strong gain considering that is the whole index’s return without counting dividends or franking credits.

The recovery over the past week has been somewhat driven by a recovery of the share prices of banks with Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) up by 8% and Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) up by 5.5%.

However, the longer-term performance of the index has been driven by many of the non-big-four large caps.

BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) is up by 48% over the past year.

Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG) has risen by 36% during the past 12 months.

CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) gained 41% during the past year.

South32 Ltd (ASX: S32) has gone up by 50% over the past 12 months.

Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) has increased by 43% during the past year.

Origin Energy Ltd (ASX: ORG) has risen by 46% over the past year.

Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES), Insurance Australia Group Ltd (ASX: IAG), Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW) and Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) have all gone up by more than 20% as well.

This is a strong performance from many of Australia’s blue chips, particularly the energy and resource related businesses. The share market has also been boosted with the tax cuts being passed today by Parliament.

Foolish takeaway

After all of these strong rises I highly doubt that the next 12 months will register another year of good returns.

Macquarie, IAG and CSL have all generated strong profit growth so those gains are justified. Most of the resource share gains are likely cyclical and could easily drop back if commodity prices fall over the next few months.

If you want sustained growth over the long-term then I’d suggest looking at one of these top stocks.

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Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Wesfarmers Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Insurance Australia Group Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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