Markets & News

Dow Industrials Close Above 19000 for First Time

Blue-chip index climbs 1,000-plus points in 12 trading days

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 19000 for the first time, extending a stretch of milestones for major U.S. stock indexes.

The index of 30 companies flirted with the level off and on Tuesday, trading below 18963 and rising to nearly 19044 before closing at 19023.87, up 67.18 points, or 0.4%, on the day.

It has been both a long and a short road from 18000. The Dow industrials first closed above that level in December 2014, but finished below it as recently as Nov. 4, just before Donald Trump was elected president. Since then, the index has climbed 1,000-plus points in 12 trading days. The quickest advance from the first time the index crossed a 1,000-point milestone to the time it added another thousand was in 1999, when it went from 10000 to 11000 in 24 trading days.

The rally since the presidential vote has, in particular, benefited the shares of industrial companies and banks, bolstering the blue-chip index.

The Dow’s surge has led to an unusual dynamic: The index is on track to post a stronger yearly performance than the S&P 500 for the first time since 2011. The Dow is up 9.2% this year, while the S&P 500 has gained 7.8%.

The stampede into sectors that have lifted the Dow to new heights “happened so quickly and so parabolically,” said Rob Bartenstein,chief executive of Kestra Private Wealth Services.

The Dow’s late-year surge is also at odds with the index’s performance at the start of 2016. In January, worries about slowing economic growth in China and its possible spillover effects sent the index to its worst-ever five-day start to a year. U.S. economic data have since improved, and investors have re-embraced stocks. Mr. Trump’s victory also renewed demand for shares of companies tied to economic growth, particularly the manufacturing sector.

Banks also are new stock-market darlings, as investors have bet on loosened regulation under Mr. Trump as well as higher interest rates. All but two of the 24 banks listed on the KBW Nasdaq Bank Index have hit a 52-week high since the Nov. 8 election.

“People are now thinking the glass is half full,” said Jimmy Chang,chief investment strategist at asset-management and advisory firm Rockefeller & Co., referring to the stock market’s postelection rally. Talk about tax cuts and infrastructure spending are contributing to investors’ optimism, he said.

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 added 4.76 points, or 0.2%, to 2202.94, the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 17.49 points, or 0.3%, to 5386.35, and the Russell 2000 index of small-capitalization stocks rose 12.11 points, or 0.9%, to 1334.34, the second consecutive day of records for all three. For the year, the Nasdaq Composite has advanced 7.6%, while the Russell 2000 has climbed 17%.

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