The Dow's journey to 30,000 could be shorter than expected if earnings season continues to deliver impressive results.
The Dow Jones Industrial average pushed its way above 29,000 again on Wednesday as earnings season continued to add buoyancy to the index.
This isn’t the first time the Dow has made its way above 29,000, but this time it looks like the momentum could finally drive the index to 30,000.
Speculation about the Dow’s rise to 30,000 has been rife over the past few months as analysts made their predictions about the market’s direction in 2020.
Some believed the Dow wouldn’t clear 30,000 by the end of the third quarter, but it looks like a perfect storm of economic data, earnings, and sentiment could take the Dow to 30,000 in just a matter of days.
Here’s a look at the puzzle pieces that will put together a Dow rally of epic proportions.
Q4 earnings are the underlying catalyst for the Dow’s success.
Investors spent much of 2019 questioning whether valuations were becoming stretched as stocks marched higher on virtually no earnings growth. Killer Q4 earnings are an essential part of removing some of the uncertainty in the market and giving traders the confidence to keep funneling money into equities.
One key piece of that puzzle is United Health (NYSE:UNH), whose earnings have already helped facilitate a Dow rally. UNH reported on Wednesday before the bell, and the healthcare giant didn’t disappoint. UNH stock gained nearly 3% as of mid-day on Wednesday.
That momentum should continue through the end of the week as the rest of the financial sector delivers earnings.
Railroad firm and economic bellwether CSX (NASDAQ:CSX) is due to report on Thursday. If the firm’s results come in at or above expectations, it would be a shot in the arm for traders as it suggests economic strength and adds to the argument that a strong earnings season is unfolding.
Later in the month, Dow heavyweights Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) are all due to report.
Another key part of the Dow’s march toward 30,000 will be Donald Trump. Not only is Trump notorious for getting traders riled up with his tweets, but he’s signing the “phase one” trade deal with China on Wednesday.
As long as all goes to plan, markets are likely to breathe a collective sigh of relief as the two nations make an important first step toward easing trade tension indefinitely.
Over the past few months, the market has been trading feverishly on Trump’s tweets regarding progress on a phase one deal. Investors can expect that Trump will start to talk up phase two, which has the potential to pump up the Dow even further.
Plus, Trump is likely to start campaigning harder for re-election, which should bring promises of further tax cuts. While Trump’s advisors say he won’t announce the cuts until later in the year, Trump is nothing if not a showman, and you can expect him to tease tax cuts in the coming weeks. That kind of rhetoric is likely to add to confidence among investors, especially if those cuts apply to the corporate world.
January also offers a host of economic data from around the globe that has the potential to spur on investor confidence.
Thursday’s retail sales report could add to the Dow’s rally if it’s able to buck the recent trend of slowing momentum.
Retail sales are seen rising between 0.3% and 0.6%, but if the figures come in above that range, it would indicate a stronger than expected holiday shopping season. That would translate to impressive Q4 results among retailers as well.
Things have been going from bad to worse at Boeing (NYSE:BA), where internal documents have been seen as evidence of a lacking safety culture within the company.
The firm’s annual orders reached a 20-year low after cancelations outweighed new orders. Importantly, the news didn’t take BA stock meaningfully lower, suggesting investors have accepted and processed the pain that Boeing is in.
Despite the shocking revelations about how the 737 MAX issues have been handled, 2020 is likely to see the plane operational once again. Any news that indicates that Boeing will soon get the plane in the air would mean a huge move for the Dow and could be the final push to get it over 30,000.