Another Wall Street milestone: S&P 3,000.

The index breached this level for the first time ever on Wednesday and again on Thursday as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell provided clearer hints on the central bank’s possible plans to cut short-term interest rates amid soft inflation and ongoing trade war concerns.

Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities, sees a host of factors warranting the S&P 500’s (^GSPC) latest milestone.

“We can make an argument for the current level of the S&P 500 based on the fundamentals of a high level of employment, low inflation, an accommodative Fed, and hopefully finding an exit ramp on the U.S.-China trade war highway,” he told Yahoo Finance.

Though some market participants might feel stocks have moved up too much and too fast, with the S&P 500 up almost 20% so far this year.

But Hogan has a message for skeptical investors.

“If we back the lens up a tad, we will see that the S&P 500 is up just 7% over the last 12 months, and only up 2.4% since September 30th of last year,” he said. “Hardly a runaway freight train, and much more of ‘what a long strange trip it’s been.’”

Brace for second-quarter earnings season

While the stock market may have successfully convinced the Fed to cut interest rates later this month, investors now await second quarter earnings, which are expected to decline year over year.

“The focus is now squarely on earnings — with the rate discussion now behind us,” wrote Kenny Polcari, managing principal at Butcher Joseph Asset Management, in a note to clients. “While we are expecting a weaker season (consensus is for a 2.6% decline year-over-year), tech sector [earnings are] expected to be down by more than 9% year-over-year and while we are prepared for this, the risk is if the estimates are much worse than the expectation.”

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After all, info tech is the best performing sector so far this year, rising 29.7%. The Nasdaq (^IXIC) closed at a record high on Wednesday.

This week, Delta Air Lines (DAL) and PepsiCo (PEP) reported better-than-expected earnings.

Scott Gamm is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @ScottGamm.

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