WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new surge of optimism among U.S. investors has pushed the Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index to its highest level since September 2000.

The index, after rising in every quarter since the start of 2016, leveled off in the second quarter at +124 before rising to its current +138 in the third quarter.

The latest boost in optimism pushes the index almost 100 points higher than the +40 score measured in February 2016. The 98-point hike over the past 18 months is the largest increase in the 20-year history of the index that is not a rebound immediately after a major drop in optimism.

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