Markets

Dow breaks 20,000 points, S&P on track for 3rd record closing high

Investing.com -

Investing.com - Wall Street traded higher on Wednesday with the Dow breaking through 20,000 points for the first time ever and all three major indices hitting all-time highs.

At 12:08PM ET (17:08GMT), the Dow Jones gained 141 points, or 0.71%, the S&P 500 rose 14 points, or 0.64%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite traded up 43 points, or 0.77%.

The race from 19,000 points to 20,000 points was the second fastest 1,000-point run between triple-zero numbers in the history of the Dow, taking 2 months and 3 calendar days, or 42 trading days, beat only by the move during the 1999 tech bubble from 10,000 to 11,000 points that took just one month and four calendar days, or 24 trading days.

At the same time, and with still four days of trading left in January, the S&P 500 was on track to set a closing high for the third time this year. In perspective, the global stock benchmark did that 18 times in 2016, 10 in 2015 and a shopping 53 in 2014.

The positive sentiment in equities occurred on a day without major economic reports, although the house price index for November increased 0.5% from the prior month, beating expectations for a 0.4% rise.

Blue-chip earnings were mixed with Boeing (NYSE:BA) pocketing gains of nearly 5% and leading the Dow higher after the aerospace giant reported stronger than expected earnings.

On the downside, United Technologies (NYSE:UTX) was the biggest decliner with losses of around 1.7% as profit matched estimates and net sales came in slightly weaker than expected.

Overall, 104 S&P 500 companies have already reported fourth quarter earnings with another 15, including eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) and Dow component AT&T (NYSE:T), set to release after the market close on Wednesday.

Earnings trend analysis firm The Earnings Scout gave both bad and good news on the earnings thus far with an eye on the outlook for U.S. equities:

The bad news, according to these experts, is that "first and second quarter earnings growth estimates have been going lower before and AFTER Trump was elected", but the "good news" is that "estimates are not falling by much".

Despite the current debate between whether the Trump administration or earnings have been responsible for the rally that led the Dow to break through the psychological 20,000 point level for the first time ever, market participants were keeping a close eye on the President for what his fiscal policies could mean for U.S. stocks.

The current upward trend did begin on Tuesday as Trump offered the first real details of his plans for the U.S. economy when he signed two executive orders to move forward with construction of the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, rolling back key Obama administration environmental actions in favor of expanding energy infrastructure.

He also signed orders rolling back some regulation and environmental rules, in order to expedite approval of infrastructure projects.

But concerns over his protectionist stance remain after Trump signed to formally withdraw the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and vowed to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with leaders of Canada and Mexico.

Furthermore, experts expected him to sign an executive order when he visits the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday afternoon to build his promised "wall" along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Meanwhile, the flood of risk appetite also seemed to flow into oil markets, as crude traded higher despite a bearish reading on U.S. stockpiles.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that crude oil inventories rose by 2.9 million barrels in the week ended January 20, roughly in line with expectations for a gain of 2.8 million barrels.

However, the report also showed that gasoline inventories surged by 6.8 million barrels, compared to expectations for a gain of 0.5 million barrels while distillate stockpiles including diesel, rose by 76,000 barrels, compared to expectations for a 970,000 barrel draw.

U.S. crude futures gained 0.17% to $53.27 by 12:09PM ET (17:09GMT), while Brent oil inched up 0.05% to $55.47.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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