NEW YORK -- The S&P 500 index closed today at a new record high.
On the last trading day of the first quarter, the S&P 500 increased 6.34 points, or 0.4 percent, to end the day at 1,569. The index gained 10 percent in the first quarter of 2013.
The previous record was set on Oct. 9, 2007, the New York Times reported. The S&P 500 then fell 57 percent over the next 17 months to hit a closing low of 676.53 on Mar. 9, 2009.
The S&P 500 is considered to be a reflection of a broad swath of US companies as opposed to blue-chip companies, like the Dow Jones Industrial Average, or the technology sector, like the Nasdaq Composite index.
"The market has been trying and trying, and we finally crossed the line," Quincy Krosby, a market strategist at Prudential Financial, told the Wall Street Journal. "Having the Dow reaching new highs was good, but the S&P 500 is broader, it's bigger… it's an important message for investors."
Dow Jones also finished the quarter at a new closing record, the Wall Street Journal reported, rising 52.38 points, or 0.4 percent, to end the day at 14,578.54. The Nasdaq Composite index gained 11 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 3,267.52.
Investors were encouraged by news from the US Commerce Department that gross domestic product beat prior estimates to rise at a 0.4 percent annual rate in the last three months of 2012, Bloomberg Businessweek reported. Also, the reopening of banks in Cyprus, which have been closed since March 16, prompted optimism about Europe’s debt crisis.
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The highest the S&P 500 has ever been in intraday trading is 1,576.09, which it reached on Oct. 11, 2007, the Wall Street Journal reported.