comscore Dow hits 20,000 following solid open for U.S. stocks | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Dow hits 20,000 following solid open for U.S. stocks


    Specialist Frank Masiello wore a Dow 20,000 cap as he worked on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange today. The Dow Jones industrial average was trading over 20,000 points for the first time, the latest milestone in a record-setting drive for the stock market.


    A board above the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange showed the Dow Jones industrial average at the opening bell today. The DJIA is trading over 20,000 points for the first time, the latest milestone in a record-setting drive for the stock market.

The Dow Jones industrial average crossed the 20,000 mark for the first time today, the latest milestone in a record-setting drive for the stock market.

Strong earnings from Boeing and other big companies helped push the Dow past the threshold early on and had U.S. stocks solidly higher by afternoon. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index and Nasdaq composite were on course for record highs of their own after each closed at all-time highs on Tuesday.

Financial stocks were leading the gainers, while real estate, phone companies and other high-dividend stocks were among the biggest laggards as bond yields rose.

The Dow, which tracks 30 major industrial companies, gained 151 points, or 0.8 percent, to 20,064 as of 1:09 p.m. Eastern Time. The S&P 500 index rose 15 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,295. The Nasdaq added 45 points, or 0.8 percent, to 5,646.

The market has been marching steadily higher since bottoming out in March 2009 in the aftermath of the financial crisis. The rally continued after the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president last fall. The Dow first closed above 10,000 on March 29, 1999.

Today’s rally comes against a backdrop of optimism on Wall Street that executive actions and policy goals announced by the Trump administration this week on trade, manufacturing and business deregulation will be good for corporate America.

“Whether its tax reform or infrastructure spending, any of those tend to be optimistic conversations for the markets currently,” said Darrell Cronk, president of Wells Fargo Investment Institute. “We have to wait and see how they play out, obviously. The danger here, if there is one, is that the market gets ahead of itself a little bit.”

Most professional investors are skeptical the Dow at 20,000 will have much effect on the market. They more often look to the S&P 500 index as a benchmark, because they consider it better representation of the broad market.

“In and of itself, it is just a number,” said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial. “But what it does is it lifts market expectations, in essence, to continue moving higher.”

If the Dow reaching 20,000 has any impact, it will likely be a psychological one. Investors have been leery of the stock market for years, unable to stomach the prospect of losing more than 50 percent of their money for a second time if another financial crisis hits.

That trepidation has caused them to pull money out of stock funds — even as the Dow made its march toward 20,000 — and depend instead on safer bond investments.

Last year, investors pulled a net $27.1 billion out of U.S. stock mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, according to Morningstar. A year earlier, they yanked $66.5 billion. Over the same time, investors plugged a total of $218.6 billion into taxable bond funds.

Anyone who resisted the urge to dump their stock investments through all the tumult of the last decade is now seeing the full benefit of a market with the Dow at 20,000.

A $10,000 investment in the largest U.S. stock mutual fund made a decade ago, before the Great Recession began, would have dropped below $5,000 by March 2009. But investors who held on even through the worries of another recession hitting, U.S. debt downgrade, the euro crisis, Brexit and U.S. presidential election of last fall would now be sitting on nearly $20,000.

This is expected to be the busiest week for corporate earnings news, with about 30 percent of the companies in the S&P 500 reporting quarterly results.

Several companies were moving higher after reporting results that exceeded Wall Street’s expectations.

Boeing was the biggest gainer in the Dow. The aircraft manufacturer climbed $7.70, or 4.8 percent, to $168.25.

Seagate’s latest quarterly snapshot drove its shares 17.7 percent higher, to lead all other companies in the S&P 500. The stock added $6.64 to $44.08.

Investors also bid up shares in Rockwell Automation, which rose $10.06, or 7.1 percent, to $152.09, and Logitech, which vaulted 15.5 percent. The computer gaming and accessories maker’s shares added $3.90 to $29.

Some companies posted earnings that failed to impress investors.

Textron slumped 10.5 percent after the defense contractor’s fourth-quarter revenue missed financial analysts’ estimates. The company also announced it is buying snowmobile maker Arctic Cat in a deal valued at about $247 million. Textron was the biggest decliner in the S&P 500, sliding $5.21 to $44.17.

Mining company Freeport-McMoRan fell 5.5 percent after it served up quarterly results that missed analysts’ forecasts. The stock slid 93 cents to $16.09.

Major stock indexes in Europe moved higher.

Germany’s DAX was up 1.8 percent, while the CAC-40 in France was 1 percent higher. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.2 percent.

Earlier in Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 surged 1.4 percent after Japan’s government said that the nation had a trade surplus in 2016, its first in six years. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.4 percent. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.1 percent.

Oil prices edged lower. Benchmark U.S. crude was down 4 cents to $53.14 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was down 13 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $55.31 a barrel in London.

Bond prices fell. The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 2.52 percent from 2.47 percent late Tuesday.

In currency trading, the dollar fell to 113.79 yen from 113.89 on Tuesday. The euro rose to $1.0732 from $1.0723.

AP Business Writer Stan Choe contributed to this report.

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