The Dow Jones rallied to a record high on Thursday. The stock market cheered encouraging words from Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin about the US-China trade deal while shrugging off the ongoing Trump impeachment process.
Wall Street also ignored another batch of weak data releases because traders remain confident that the trade war cease-fire will improve the economic outlook.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 113.49 points or 0.4% to 28,352.77 and looks all but assured of closing at a new all-time high.
The S&P 500 rose in tandem with the Dow, gaining 0.36% to trade at 3,202.52.
The Nasdaq was the top performer among the three major US stock market indices , bouncing 0.55% to creep closer to the elusive 9,000 mark.
It was also a positive day for commodities; both crude oil and the price of gold were able to move slightly higher. Even bitcoin was up an impressive 4%, re-taking the $7,000 handle following an aggressive rally.
Donald Trump’s impeachment has proven to be the dud that markets anticipated, and investors remain fixated on other headlines coming out of the White House.
US Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin buttressed the Dow Jones when he told CNBC that the US and China have concluded “phase one” negotiations. He is confident January will see the agreement ratified. This was an important statement because plenty of analysts questioned whether the deal was as concrete as the White House suggested.
While the Dow continues to boom, it is easy to forget that several critical macro indicators are mostly trending in the wrong direction.
Thursday brought a slew of weak economic data . Initial jobless claims exceeded estimates, the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index collapsed, and new home sales dipped suddenly.
Economists at Nordea warn that 2020 could bring more hurdles for the US economy, but they still think a recession isn’t yet an immediate threat :
Leading indicators still point to a slowdown and the yield curve has sent its powerful recession signal. In this macro theme, we make the case for a US slowdown in the first half of 2020, prompting the Fed to cut rates. An update of the ‘roadmap to recession’ theme from March confirms that a trigger is needed for the US to fall into recession and recession probability models show that only financial indicators have sent recession signals, so far.
Surprisingly, one of the stocks leading the index was “dog of the Dow” Walgreens (NYSE: WBA), which managed to rise nearly 0.9%. Despite this move, the company is still down around 14% in 2019. 3M (NYSE: MMM), another struggling DJIA stock, also rallied, securing a 2% move to the upside.
Boeing (NYSE: BA) stock was able to rise for the second straight day, with an impressive 0.7% gain. Donald Trump is getting involved in the 737 MAX saga (probably because of the anticipated impact on US GDP), triggering speculation that the president might try and squeeze an earlier return for the infamous jet.
The best performing stock in the index was Cisco (NYSE: CSCO), powering 2.6% higher after a flood of good feelings about the company’s future saw a surge of interest in CSCO.
Caterpillar stock (NYSE: CAT) was the worst-performing stock in the Dow Jones, dipping 1.7%. Given that Caterpillar typically performs well when there are positive trade war headlines, this move is unusual. It hints that investors might no longer be able to enjoy automatic rallies in the Dow 30 every time someone in the Trump administration teases progress with China .