Specialist Dilip Patel works at his post on the floor...

Specialist Dilip Patel works at his post on the floor of the NYSE on Tuesday. Credit: AP / Richard Drew

Wall Street capped a broad rally for stocks Thursday by driving the S&P 500 index to an all-time high.

The milestone, which eclipsed the benchmark index's last record close on April 30, underscores a swift rebound for the market in June that has erased the losses from a 6.6 percent dive in May. The major U.S. stock indexes are up more than 7 percent so far this month.

Thursday's rally came as investors balanced optimism over the possibility that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates in response to a slowing global economy with jitters about the prospects of dimmer corporate profits should a severe slowdown take hold.

Those worries prompted traders to shift money into safe-haven assets this week, including gold and U.S. government bonds. The yield on the 10-year Treasury briefly slid Thursday as low as 1.97 percent after falling a day earlier to 2.02 percent. The yield, which is used to set interest rates on mortgages and other loans, is the lowest it's been since November 2016. The price of gold, meanwhile, jumped 3.6 percent.

"If the Fed is going to cut rates, it means that the economic environment is slowing down," said Lindsey Bell, investment strategist at CFRA. "You have investors looking to bonds to hide out in. You're also seeing a big move up in gold on the back of the Fed's decision as well."

Investors' jitters over escalating tensions between the United States and Iran sent the price of U.S. crude oil 5.4 percent higher. Crude prices had been in a bear market just weeks ago, what Wall Street calls a drop of 20 percent or more.

The S&P 500 climbed 0.9 percent to 2,954.18, a record high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 249.17 points, or 0.9 percent, to 26,753.17. The Nasdaq gained 0.8 percent to 8,051.34.
 

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