From The Washington Post:
The markets did something this week that hasn’t been seen since 1999.
Three stock indexes reached record highs at the close of markets on Thursday. It was the first time since 1999 that the Dow Jones industrial average, the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index and the Nasdaq composite index all peaked on the same day.
That sets a decidedly more upbeat tone for the U.S. economy, which experienced a slowdown in the beginning of the year and another hit from the Britain’s vote this summer to exit from the European Union.
On Friday, the Dow ended at 18,576, down 37 points on the day but up 6.59 percent on the year. The S&P ended at 2184, down 1.7 points on the day but up 6.85 percent on the year. The Nasdaq finished up slightly at 5232, up 4.5 percent on the year.
Gus Faucher, deputy chief economist at PNC Financial Services, said the U.S. economy’s relative success compared with other developed countries has attracted investors.
“Given the dearth of alternative investment, U.S. stocks look relatively better,” Faucher said. “Conditions for the U.S. economy are okay, not great, but mostly the opportunities elsewhere are limited, so the U.S. stock prices have soared.”
In addition, experts attribute the positive equity outlook to now-rising energy prices — oil prices had collapsed earlier in the year but have slowly come back.
They rose more than 4 percent Thursday after Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said members and nonmembers of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would discuss the market situation during an informal meeting next month.
There’s currently an oversupply of oil, so efforts by OPEC to reduce production and stabilize the market would boost the price per barrel of oil.
“Markets are viewing this as potentially a positive for oil prices,” Faucher said.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil traded up nearly 3 …