The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied on Friday to rescue its nine-week winning streak, and the US stock market bellwether further crossed another milestone by edging across the 26,000 mark minutes prior to the closing bell.
The Dow jumped by 181.18 points or 0.7 percent to 26,031.81. The S&P 500 rose 0.64 percent but fell short of 2,800, and the Nasdaq outperformed with its 0.91 percent rally to round out a positive end to the US stock market’s weekly trading session.
Friday marked the first time since November that the Dow had closed above 26,000. The index has now put December’s grisly sell-off firmly in its rearview mirror and continues to race back toward its all-time high.
The Dow’s weekly winning streak had been in doubt just one day prior when the index fell more than 103 points to push it below last Friday’s close at 25,883.25.
However, the Dow and its sister indices popped at the opening bell, riding high on optimism that US President Donald Trump’s meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He would bring the world’s two largest economies closer to closing the book on the trade war that has dragged on stock markets throughout the world.
Many analysts expected Trump to conclude that meeting by announcing a formal extension to the March 1 trade deal deadline. However, Trump continued to waver on that point, instead giving a noncommital, “If we’re doing well, I could see extending that.”
Trump further stressed that he wanted to sign a permanent deal, not place another bandage on a festering wound.
“This same agreement should have been made 20 years ago, not now…because the US has really been taking advantage of…and I’m not blaming China…we had presidents who didn’t do their job.”
Still, CNBC reported that Trump and Chinese President Xi may hold a summit in late March at Mar-a-Lago to iron out remaining sticking points in the negotiations. Trump previously said that he would not sign any agreement until he had met face-to-face with Xi.
That proved to be enough to power the Dow to its ninth straight weekly gain – its longest such streak in 55 years.
Nevertheless, the lack of a deadline extension leaves open the possibility that Trump will allow steep tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to kick in at the beginning of March in a gambit to twist China’s arm into striking a deal more favorable to the US.
That gambit might work, but it’s one that the US stock market is unlikely to welcome.
Featured Image from AP Photo/Richard Drew