- Risk appetite continues to soar, powering the Dow to a new record on Thursday.
- A Pentagon report helped lift the Dow’s heaviest stock as US officials blamed an Iranian missile for the recent Boeing 737 crash.
- Apple rose 2% after signs the iPhone is performing brilliantly in China.
The Dow Jones hit another all-time high today because markets remain confident that Donald Trump and Iran are not going to escalate tensions any further.
Underpinning the Dow, comments from the White House helped to lift the index’s most heavily weighted stock. US officials blamed the recent Boeing plane crash on an Iranian missile and not a 737 malfunction.
Dow Jones Basks in Strong Data & Easing Tensions
All three major US stock market indices were in the green on Thursday, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Nasdaq, and S&P 500 all moved more than 0.5% higher.
As of 3:28 pm ET, the Dow had gained 183.42 points or 0.64% to advance to 28,928.51. The 29,000 mark is now firmly in its sights, with 30,000 looming on the horizon.
With tensions in the Middle East winding down, volatility is also waning in the commodity sector. Crude oil tracked mostly sideways on Thursday. The relentless uptrend in the price of gold has also slowed, as XAU dipped 0.45%.
As Dow bulls regain confidence in the geopolitical outlook, it is easier for investors to focus on the performance of the domestic economy. A strong ADP non-farm employment figure on Wednesday led up to today’s stellar jobless claims figure, which dropped 6,000 more claims than forecast.
Manufacturing Woes & New Trade Wars Threaten Stock Market Outlook
Despite the apparent momentum in the stock market, ABN AMRO’s senior economist, Bill Diviney, finds it hard to get too excited.
He says substantial risks remain for the Dow Jones in the form of new and damaging fronts in Trump’s potentially global trade war, stating,
Although some of the headwinds for the [manufacturing] sector appear to be easing, there remain significant risks both to the stability of the ‘Phase One’ China trade deal, as well as potential new fronts in the trade war opening up – most significantly, with the US proposing retaliatory measures against France’s digital services tax (and the UK potentially coming into the firing line when it implements such a tax in April).
Ultimately, the economist believes these problems will cause a domino effect that filters through to the broader economy.
We also continue to expect weakness in manufacturing to eventually drive a renewed slowdown in jobs growth, thereby denting consumer confidence, consumption and the broader economy.
Dow Stocks: Boeing Catches a Break, Apple’s Moon-Trip Continues
The Dow 30 saw some big names propping up the index on Thursday, as old-guard names like Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD), and Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) all moved more than 1% higher.
Providing the main support to the index was a 1.6% rally in Boeing (NYSE: BA), as the Dow Jones cheered the Trump administration’s belief that an Iranian missile, and not a technical malfunction, downed the doomed 737 jet a few days ago in Tehran.
While obviously not a positive for BA stock, it at least means that no additional negative connotations can be applied to the 737 brand. In the background, the embattled MAX version continues to worry airline executives banking on its eventual return.
Meanwhile, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) stock continues to trade relentlessly higher as double-digit iPhone growth in China supercharges the market cap of the world’s most valuable company.