The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) has done it again folks. The flagship ASX index has once again hit a new record all-time high today during mid-day trading. Just before midday, the ASX 200 clocked in at 7,183 points, a slight beat on the previous all-time high of 7,172 points (which was, unfortunately, a slightly more aesthetically pleasing number). At the time of writing, the ASX 200 has pulled back from that high, but it still sitting at 7,174.6 points, up 1.12% for the day.
When it rains, it pours, and the same can be said of record highs. It took the ASX 200 more than a year to recover from the coronavirus-induced share market crash that happened in March last year. It was on 21 February 2020 that the ASX had its last all-time high before this month – 7,162 points. That high watermark stood until 11 May 2021 because, shortly after it was hit, the ASX 200 collapsed more than 32% over the following month. Since 23 March, the index is now up close to 50%. In saying that, the ASX 200 has actually lagged other markets around the world. The US S&P 500 Index (INDEXSP: .INX) crossed its pre-COVID all-time high back in August last year. it has since printed record highs like confetti. It’s now a whopping near-25% above where it was in February 2020.
ASX 200 record high: how did we get here?
Well, the performance of any market capitalisation-weighted index depends mostly on the performance of its most heavily weighted shares. In the ASX 200’s case, that would be the big four banks, the big iron ore miners and CSL Limited (ASX: CSL). Well, most of those shares have had a top month, as you might expect. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) recently broke $100 a share for the first time ever. In fact, CBA has been the ASX share we can probably put this new high down to the most. It’s currently sitting at the top of the ASX 200 with a hefty market capitalisation of $177.1 billion, having climbed close to 20% in 2021 so far. The other ASX banks are also at, or over, their pre-COVID highs.
BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP), Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) and Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) aren’t too high from their own all-time highs that have all occurred in recent months. CSL shares have actually been one of the laggards in the ASX 200. But even CSL is up more than 17% over the past 2½ months or so.
So it’s been the collective efforts of these companies that we can largely thank for pushing up the ASX 200 to yet another all-time high. What’s next? Well, no one knows. But that’s what makes investing fun.