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Dow Smashes New Records as Fed-Speak Dashes Investor Fears

Last Updated September 23, 2020 12:50 PM
Sam Bourgi
Last Updated September 23, 2020 12:50 PM

The Dow and broader U.S. stock market forged new highs Friday, building off a multi-session rally that was fueled by affirmations the Federal Reserve will kick-start a new era of monetary easing later this month.

Dow Extends Record Rally; S&P 500, Nasdaq Follow

All of Wall Street’s major averages recorded record highs Friday, mirroring a strong pre-market for Dow futures. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 187.26 points, or 0.7%, to 27,275.34. The blue-chip index is on track for its second consecutive record close.

Dow Jones Industrial Average
Dow Jones Industrial Average surges to new highs. | Source: Yahoo Finance.

The broad S&P 500 Index of large-cap stocks advanced 0.3% to 3,009.12 and was on track for its first close above 3,000 in history. Eight of 11 primary sectors reported gains, led by industrials and consumer discretionary. On the opposite side of the ledger, health care declined more than 1%.

Meanwhile, the technology-laden Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 0.5% to 8,235.64.

The CBOE Volatility Index, commonly known as the VIX, was on track for its third consecutive drop Friday. The so-called “investor fear index” fell 2.7% to 12.58 on a scale of 1-100 where 20-25 represents the historic average.

Fed Capitulation Seals the Deal

jerome powell, dow jones, djia
The Fed juiced the stock market to allow the Dow and its peers to keep hitting new highs. | Source: REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst

Equities have resumed their record-setting pace on expectations that the Federal Reserve will lower interest rates to bolster a lagging economy. Fed chief Jerome Powell hammered home those expectations over two days of testimony before the Senate and House of Representatives.

“Since our May meeting, however, these crosscurrents have reemerged, creating greater uncertainty,” Powell said  in prepared testimony earlier this week.

The likelihood of a July rate cut stands at 100%, according to CME Group’s FedWatch Tool. The probability of a second rate cut in September is 72.9%.

The Fed is one of several central banks to have made a dovish turn on monetary policy. The European Central Bank, Bank of Japan, Bank of Canada, and People’s Bank of China have all been forced to reconsider their stance on monetary policy in light of prevailing economic conditions.

In economic data, the U.S. Department of Labor said producer inflation picked up faster than expected in June. Core producer inflation rose 0.3% from May and 2.3% annually, official data  showed.

Click here for a real-time Dow Jones Industrial Average price chart.