Well, it’s finally happened. The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) has crossed the Rubicon. The indexes’ all-time high that has stood for almost a year and a half – 7,162 points – has been broken.
This morning, the ASSX 200 crossed that mark for the first time since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Shortly after the bell sounded, ASX 200 shares climbed above 7,162 points and reached as high as 7,172 points.
It didn’t last long though. The ASX 200 is now down more than 1% and has retreated to a level of 7,093 at the time of writing. But, the Rio Grande has been crossed as it were – there’s no going back.
In a way, it’s quite remarkable that it took so long for this record to fall. The US markets crossed their pre-pandemic highs months and months ago.
The S&P 500 Index hit its old high watermark in August last year and has put on another ~24% or so since. The Japanese markets followed just a month later. I suppose it could be worse though. The UK’s FTSE 100 Index is still more than 7% off of its own January 2020 highs.
ASX 200 hits all-time high… But why today?
You might be thinking that it’s rather strange the ASX 200 is making this move today though. There are a lot of ASX shares that have been selling off over the past week or two.
Well, that may be true. But it’s the blue-chip shares that have the most weight in the ASX 200 Index that are pushing said index higher. Namely the ASX banks and miners.
All four of the big ASX banks are now back to, or above, levels we saw back in February 2020. Take Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA). It’s tantalisingly close to both its all-time high, and $100 share today at its current price of $94.70.
BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) are also both pretty close to their own all-time highs. In fact, BHP made a new record just yesterday of $51.80 a share. Not bad for a 170-year old company.
Even CSL Limited (ASX: CSL), which has fallen out of favour with investors over the past year, is up more than 11% over the past 2 months.
So long story short, it’s banks and miners to thank for the ASX 200’s new highs. That reminds me of that old saying, the more things change, the more they stay the same.