Dow eclipses 19,000 for first time in history

Get out the Dow 19,000 rally caps. The Dow Jones industrial average, arguably the world's best-known stock market gauge, crossed the 19,000 barrier in early trading Tuesday for the first time in its 120-year history.

In the opening minutes of trade, the Dow rose as high as 56 points to hit a new record intraday high of 19,013.12. It has since traded back below the milestone but is still up nearly 40 points, or 0.2% on the session.

After Monday’s record-breaking day, when the Dow Jones industrial average, large-company Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index, tech-dominated Nasdaq composite and the small-cap Russell 2000 all closed at record levels at the same time for the first time since Dec. 31, 1999, the Dow is making fresh headlines and will likely get a big shout out on the evening news.

For the second straight day, all four major U.S. stock indexes are in new high territory at the same time. The S&P 500 is up about 4 points, or 0.2%, at 2202.05 -- its first ever rise above 2200. The Nasdaq composite is nearly 20 points higher, or 0.4%. And the Russell 2000 is on track for its thirteenth straight session of gains.

The assault on Dow 19,000 has taken nearly two years, or 700 calendar days, since it took out the 18,000 barrier back on Dec. 23, 2014. It is on track for its slowest climb from one 1,000-point milestone to the next since taking nearly six years to climb from 14,000 in July 2007 to 15,000 in May 2013. (That long drought, of course, coincided with the Great Recession and the worst stock market decline since the Great Depression.)

Dow 19,000 is the latest signal that the rally sparked by Donald Trump’s surprise presidential election win is broadening as investors continue to bet on the prospects for a more investor- and business-friendly administration.

Whether the bullish hype turns out to be the right trade remains to be seen, as Trump has yet to get the keys to the White House or make one of his campaign promises come true.

"Whatever else the future holds, Trump has already made the U.S. stock market great again," Don Luskin, chief investment officer at investment firm TrendMacro, told USA TODAY.

Stocks, however, are rising depsite a continued rise in long-term interest rates and U.S. dollar. The 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.325%, its highest leve in about a year and the greenback strengthened versus a basket of foreign currencies for the eleventh time in the past 12 trading sessions.

Low rates, of course, have been a key driver of stock prices in recent years, although the current increase in rates is occurring as signs of a stronger U.S. economy emerge and investors price in further economic gains based on Trump's pro-business platform of lower taxes, less regulation and more fiscal spending.

The dollar's rise, however, could hurt the profitability of large U.S. companies that do a lot of business abroad, as the prices of their products and services will be more expensive in local dollars, which could crimp sales and earnings.

The stock rally also continued in Asia, where major stock indexes in Japan, Hong Kong and mainland China closed higher. Stocks were also broadly higher in Europe.

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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