The S&P 500 closed above the 1,254 point level on Tuesday, the first time the benchmark index has managed the feat since before investment bank Lehman Brothers collapsed in late 2008.

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Lehman Brothers, headquartered in New York, went bankrupt in 2008.

Considered the broadest gauge of the U.S. economy, the Standard & Poor's 500 index is a list of 500 of the most notable large-cap public stocks that trade on the New York or Nasdaq stock exchanges.

On Sept. 12, 2008, the Friday before Lehman brothers collapsed, the S&P 500 closed at 1,251.70. Except for a blip back up to 1,255.08 a week later, the index has never traded above that level until this week.

The index closed at 1,254.60 on Tuesday, up 7.52 points on the day.

The S&P 500 cratered throughout late 2008, eventually bottoming at under 700 points in early 2009, at which point it began a fairly steady advance.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, meanwhile, returned to its pre-Lehman high on Nov. 4, closing at 11,434.84. That marked the first time the Dow had been above the 11,421.99 level since Sept. 12, 2008. On Tuesday, it closed at 11,533, up 55 points.

In Canada, the S&P/TSX Composite Index returned to its pre-Lehman high of 12,769.58 earlier this year. The TSX ended the trading day on Tuesday at 13,365, up 171 points in the trading session.

But that's still well off the Canadian index's all-time high of 15,073.13, which was set on June 18, 2008 — several months before Lehman's collapse.