NEW YORK, NY. (NEWS 1130) – The Dow Jones industrial average burst through the 25,000 point mark Thursday, just five weeks after its first close above 24,000.
The Dow passed five 1,000-point barriers in 2017 on its way to a 25 per cent gain for the year, as an eight-year rally since the Great Recession continued to confound skeptics.
Strong global economic growth and good prospects for higher company earnings have analysts predicting more gains, although the market may not stay as calm as it has been recently.
The Dow has made a rapid trip from 24,000 points on November 30, partly on enthusiasm over passage of the Republican-backed tax package, which could boost company profits this year with across-the-board cuts to corporate taxes.
“For a long while in 2017 I would say the biggest driver was excitement and anticipation over tax reform, but at a certain point I think there was a handover to global economic growth really helping to carry the stock market,” said Invesco Chief Global Markets Strategist Kristina Hooper.
Big gains in US blue chip companies have powered the Dow’s relentless rise to new heights over the past year, including an 87 per cent gain in aerospace giant Boeing, a 70 per cent rise in construction equipment maker Caterpillar and a 49 per cent increase in Apple.
The Dow, which was founded in 1896 and is the oldest barometer of the US stock market, has nearly quadrupled in value from its low during the financial crisis in early 2009. But the global economy and spending by people and businesses and governments were much slower to recover than stocks were.
“Instead of fiscal stimulus, we relied on monetary policy stimulus, which inflates asset prices as opposed to the overall economy,” Hooper said. Stocks have continued to climb as investors saw signs economic growth was finally improving.
Technology companies, which put up some of the biggest gains in the last year, continued to lead the market higher. And there was more good economic news Thursday: A report showed private US businesses added 250,000 jobs last month, with smaller businesses adding 94,000.
The Dow, which tracks 30 big US companies, rose 152.45 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 25,075.13.
The Standard & Poor’s 500, a much broader index that professional investors prefer to use as their benchmark for large U.S. stocks, rose 10.93 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 2,723.99.
The Nasdaq composite, which is heavily weighted with technology and biotech companies, added 12.38 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 7,077.91. All three indexes set record highs a day earlier.
The Nasdaq reached a milestone of its own this week, closing above 7,000 points for the first time Tuesday.
Indexes in some developing countries have done even better than those in Europe and the US over the past year. Brazil’s benchmark Bovespa is up 28 per cent over the past year and the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong is up 39 per cent.
Bond prices fell, sending yields higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.45 per cent from 2.44 per cent.
Higher bond yields are good news for banks because they can charge higher interest rates on mortgages and other kinds of loans.
US President Donald Trump said Thursday that the Dow could reach 30,000, which would take another 20-per cent jump.
Few on Wall Street expect stocks to climb that much any time soon. Stocks already did far better than most observers expected last year, and corporate earnings aren’t rising fast enough to justify that kind of climb.
It wasn’t all rosy Thursday. Intel continued to stumble after security researchers at Google and a group of academic institutions discovered serious security flaws in its computer processors. It lost 83 cents, or 1.8 per cent, to $44.43 after a 3.4 per cent decline Wednesday. Intel said it’s working to fix the problem and that it’s not the only company affected.
Benchmark U.S. crude rose 38 cents to $62.01 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 23 cents to $68.07 a barrel in London.
France’s CAC 40 leaped 1.5 per cent and so did Germany’s DAX. In Britain the FTSE 100 edged 0.3 per cent higher.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 3.3 per cent on the first trading day of the year. South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.8 per cent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.5 per cent.
In other commodities trading, wholesale gasoline rose 1 cent to $1.81 a gallon. Heating oil fell 1 cent to $2.08 a gallon. Natural gas plunged 13 cents, or 4.3 per cent, to $2.88 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Gold rose $3.10 to $1,321.60 an ounce and silver remained at $17.27 an ounce. Copper edged up 1 cent to $3.26 a pound.
The dollar rose to 112.74 yen from 112.52 yen. The euro climbed to $1.2072 from $1.2018.