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Stock Market Today: U.S. in Recession, But Nasdaq Sets New High

Kyle Woodley, Senior Investing Editor, Kiplinger.com

A year of bizarre market juxtapositions continued on Monday as the Nasdaq set new all-time highs on the same day America learned it is officially in a recession.

This morning, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) - an American nonprofit that acts as the official arbiter of recessions and recoveries - said the U.S. economy entered a recession in February, marking the organization's fastest such declaration.

But, yet again, Wall Street looked not at the gloomy rear-view mirror, but instead toward brighter hopes for the future. On the same day that hard-hit New York City began rolling back its coronavirus-prompted restrictions, the Dow registered its sixth consecutive advance - a 1.7% gain to 27,572, led once more by Boeing (BA, +12.2%).

The S&P 500 finished up 1.2% to 3,232 to enter positive territory for the year. And Apple (AAPL, +0.6%) and Amazon.com (AMZN, +1.7%) notched record closes to lead the tech-heavy Nasdaq (+1.1% to 9,924) to a new all-time high, eclipsing its previous bull-market high set on Feb. 19.

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Don't ignore the realities of this recession. Tens of millions of Americans remain out of work, scores of small businesses are struggling, and corporate America isn't done shedding jobs yet. Oil giant BP (BP) just announced it will cut 10,000 workers, some of whom are U.S.-based, and several airlines have suggested they'll have to lay off employees or trim wages in the coming months.

In other words, brush up on what there is to know about recessions, and also consider stocks that should fare well under recessionary or otherwise poor economic conditions.

Also, don't ignore good deals where you can find them. The market's rapid rebound has wiped away many stock bargains in a hurry, but investors still can find several retirement-focused picks trading at decent prices. These aren't the once-in-a-lifetime steals they might have been in March, but they still offer attractive entry points and much-better-than-average yields.

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