Dow hits 20,000 on revived Trump rally, earnings

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By Chuck Mikolajczak | NEW YORK

Wall Street advanced on Wednesday to push the Dow Jones Industrial Average across the 20,000 mark for the first time ever as solid earnings and optimism over President Donald Trump’s pro-growth initiatives reawakened a post-election rally.

Trump has made several business-friendly decisions since taking office on Friday, including signing executive orders to reduce regulatory burden on domestic manufacturers and clearing the way for the construction of two oil pipelines.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite indexes also hit record intraday highs.

The Dow came within a point of the historic mark on Jan. 6, as investors banked on pro-growth policies and tax cuts many expect from the new administration.

However, the index had struggled in recent weeks as investors awaited clarity on the new administration’s policies grew cautious.

“The fact we got (to 20,000) finally is happening in conjunction with a little bit of renewed enthusiasm for the Trump agenda,” said David Joy, chief market strategist at Ameriprise Financial in Boston.

“In essence he is sending a signal to the business community that he intends to follow through at least on some of these more business-friendly things that he talked about on the campaign trail.”

Trump, a real estate mogul and a former reality television star, marked the moment with a tweet from the official account of the office: “Great!#Dow20K”.

Sentiment was also lifted by better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings. Of the 104 S&P 500 companies that have reported results so far, nearly 70 percent have beaten expectations, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Earnings are expected to show growth of 6.8 percent for the quarter, its strongest mark in two years.

If the Dow remains above 20,000 by closing time, the 42-session surge from its first close above 19,000 would mark the second-shortest length of time between such milestones.

The most rapid rise was between 10,000 and 11,000 from March 29 to May 3, in 1999, which took 24 days. The rise from 18,000 to 19,000 took the Dow 483 trading sessions.

The surge since Nov. 22, when the index closed above 19,000 for the first time, has been spearheaded by financial stocks – with Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and JPMorgan (JPM.N) accounting for about 20 percent of the gain.

On Wednesday, Boeing (BA.N) hit a record high of $168.65 on strong earnings, giving the Dow its biggest boost. Goldman Sachs (GS.N) was the second biggest influence on the index, with a 1.3 percent gain.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 157.08 points, or 0.79 percent, to 20,069.79, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 17.45 points, or 0.77 percent, to 2,297.52 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 50.68 points, or 0.9 percent, to 5,651.64.

A 1.6 percent rise in financials .SPSY paced the advance for the S&P 500, while names sensitive to a climb in interest rates – utilities .SPLRCU, real estate .SPLRCR and telecoms .SPLRCL, lost ground.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.83-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.24-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 80 new 52-week highs and 1 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 187 new highs and 11 new lows.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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