It’s about to be another bumper day for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 as good news continues to buoy investor sentiment. Dow futures ticked upward on Friday morning as investors digested Donald Trump’s back-to-back trade deals.
So far this year, the US stock market has been on a tear, leading many to worry about a significant pullback. But heading into the weekend, the Dow is poised to make its way closer to the 30,000 benchmark. Here’s a look at 5 factors that will drive the Dow on Friday.
The Dow can’t rally without the help of its top 3 stocks— Boeing (NYSE:BA), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH). The way the Dow is weighted means those three stocks account for roughly 21% of the index’s performance. Boeing sits at the top of that pack, making it the Dow’s most important performer.
Friday is looking bright for the plane-maker as it continues to work toward getting the MAX back into the skies. Investors are willing to take any crumb of information as good news as long as it signals progress— and that’s exactly what we saw on Thursday when Boeing stock picked up 1% on news that Southwest was taking the plane off its roster through June.
While that might sound like bad news, investors assuming that Southwest is privy to Boeing’s progress saw it as confirmation that the MAX will hit the skies in June.
On Friday Boeing investors are also likely to cheer news that a federal advisory panel has cleared the safety-approval process on Boeing’s MAX planes. The committee reported that the way the plane was evaluated was, “appropriate and effective,” ultimately saying it would have been no safer had it gone through additional safety checks.
While the report doesn’t say anything to suggest an earlier release time for the MAX, it does bring the ordeal one step closer to being over and investors are likely to take that as a promising sign for Boeing stock.
The Dow could also see a lift on Friday following the release of important economic data. Arguably the most important piece of the puzzle will be consumer sentiment data, which is expected to show that American shoppers are becoming more willing to loosen the pursestrings.
The data is due to come out at 10:00 ET on Friday and it’s expected to come in above December’s impressive 99.3 reading with a score of 99.5. If the sentiment figure comes in-line with expectations, it could give the Dow a considerable bump as not only does it signal economic strength, but it bodes well for retailers’ earnings in the weeks ahead.
The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) is also due out on Friday at 10. It’s worth noting that the JOLTS data will be from November, so it’s backward-looking compared to other labor market measures. But it is often used by the Fed to offer insight into the strength of the nation’s labor market. If the figure is positive, it could take some of the pain out of December’s payroll and wage growth miss.
The first week of earnings season has been a strong one for the Dow. The Q4 results so far have helped calm fears that earnings won’t live up to the market’s optimism. Oil and gas company Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB) will kick off earnings season for energy stocks when the firm announces its results before the bell on Friday.
Schlumberger is seen beating expectations despite a difficult shale environment, a move that is likely to propel SLB and its peers higher.
Friday morning saw Asian markets move higher after China announced economic growth of 6.1% in 2019. That’s in-line with expectations and suggests that the trade war hasn’t been as detrimental to Beijing’s economy as some predicted.
China’s economy grew 6.0% in Q4, the same growth rate seen in Q3. That’s the slowest GDP growth the nation has seen in nearly 30 years— so it’s apparent that the trade war has had an impact. The Phase 1 trade deal is likely to help boost GDP growth in 2020, especially if more tariffs are lifted and progress on Phase 2 begins.
China’s economic data is an important factor in the Dow’s rally because many US companies are heavily exposed to China. Not only are Chinese consumers one of the most lucrative markets in the world, but the nation’s manufacturing industry has become essential to the success of many US firms.
Dow components like IBM (NYSE:IBM), Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO), and most notably Apple, depend on strength in China to keep their businesses thriving.
Finally, the Dow is likely to rise higher because it’s rising higher. While this week isn’t the first time the index made its way above 29,000, it is the first time the Dow stuck there. That marks a huge psychological milestone for traders and makes it much easier for the market to continue marching higher.
Last week when the Dow first broke the 29,000 barrier, Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network remarked that breaking above that level could make 30,000 somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy because of the confidence it inspires.
The general public is still not fully committed to the rally, so that kind of break on the most known index could drive further gains. If we do clear 29k, expect lots of interest and coverage around when we will get to 30K – which could become a self-fulfilling prophecy
With the Dow comfortably trading above 29,000, investor confidence is likely to continue rising as traders anticipate the next big milestone.
Others, like Chris Zaccarelli of Independent Advisor Alliance cautioned that the market may “take a breather” as the 2020 election draws nearer.
After passing this milestone the market may take a breather and see how the Democratic primary season unfolds
But with the next major milestone within touching distance and earnings season looking strong, that breather may not come until the Dow reaches above 30,000.
Disclaimer: As of this writing Laura Hoy was long AAPL.
This article was edited by Samburaj Das.
Last modified: January 22, 2020 11:38 PM