The Dow nervously crept higher on Wednesday, even as President Trump lobbed another threat at Iran over its flagrant violation of the 2015 nuclear deal.
All of Wall Street’s major indices sought to consolidate minor gains on Wednesday – and potentially even set new records before the July 4 market holiday. As of 9:11 am ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures had climbed 54 points or 0.2%, implying a 72.32 point gain at the opening bell.
S&P 500 futures rose 6.25 points or 0.21%, and Nasdaq futures added 0.2% to round out a cautiously bullish pre-market session.
Stocks climbed after Trump nominated Christopher Waller and Judy Shelton to the US Federal Reserve, potentially stacking the central bank with allies likely to fulfill his wish for market-juicing interest rate cuts.
Trump’s most recent Fed picks – Stephen Miller and Herman Cain – flamed out in spectacular fashion, but optimism about Waller and Shelton propelled the Dow higher even as the president issued a thundering rebuke to Iran over its blatant flaunting of the 2015 nuclear deal.
“Iran was violating the 150 Billion Dollar (plus 1.8 Billion Dollar in CASH) Nuclear Deal with the United States, and others who paid NOTHING, long before I became President – and they have now breached their stockpile limit. Not good!”
Trump’s threat came days after Iran revealed that it had stockpiled more uranium than it agreed to under the nuclear deal.
Trump withdrew the US from the nuclear deal in 2018.
Meanwhile, Iran continues to goad the United States into armed hostilities. This morning, President Hassan Rouhani boasted that Iran would boost its uranium enrichment by “whatever amount we feel like, by whatever amount is our necessity, our need.”
Under the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran may enrich uranium to 3.67%, the level needed to generate electricity. By announcing that Iran will exceed that cap, Rouhani is suggesting that the country will resume its quest to build a nuclear bomb.
Previously, Iran shot down a US military surveillance drone, prompting Trump to order an airstrike – only to call it off with minutes to spare. Earlier, the White House blamed Iran for multiple attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.
The White House has thus far punted on a military response to the ongoing provocations, instead smacking the Islamic Republic with enhanced economic sanctions. However, now that virtually all of Iran’s core economic sectors have been sanctioned, the Trump administration is running out of options.
It’s notable that the ongoing escalations between the US and Iran have not prevented the stock market from continuing to pound to record highs. The S&P 500 set a new high water mark on Tuesday, and the Dow and Nasdaq both sit within striking distance of setting new all-time highs of their own.