- The Dow Jones industrial average erased its 2020 losses on Thursday as stocks rallied on the Federal Reserve’s new monetary policy framework.
- The 30-stock index gained as much as 1.1% in the session. Microsoft and Walmart led the index higher following news of their joint bid for TikTok.
- The Dow lagged its peers in turning positive for the year, largely due to its smaller exposure to rallying tech giants.
- The industrial average now sits roughly 1,000 points away from notching a record high.
- Watch the Dow update live here.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose above its December 31 closing level on Thursday, becoming the last of the three major US stock indexes to erase its year-to-date losses.
The 30-stock index gained as much as 1.1%, or 302 points, in Thursday trading amid the broader stock market rally. Equities gained through the morning after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell unveiled the central bank’s new framework for controlling inflation, maximizing employment, and padding against future economic downturns. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite both notched record highs on the news.
The Dow’s smaller exposure to surging tech stocks hindered its rise in recent months. The Nasdaq composite rode tech mega-caps higher to wipe out its 2020 losses in May, while the S&P 500 turned positive for the year in early June.
The Dow’s run-up comes just a few days after it announced the biggest shakeup to its index membership since 2013. The industrial benchmark will ditch Exxon, Pfizer, and Raytheon at the end of the month for Salesforce, Amgen, and Honeywell. The update was prompted by Apple’s upcoming five-for-one stock split. Since the Dow is price-weighted, the split cuts away at its tech exposure and led S&P Dow Jones Indices to rebalance the lineup.
The stock market has also surged in recent sessions on better-than-expected economic data, strong corporate earnings, and falling new COVID-19 infections. Most recently, durable goods orders in July climbed 11.2%, trouncing the consensus economist estimate of a 4.8% increase. Earnings beats from Salesforce, Urban Outfitters, and HP Enterprise lifted stocks on Wednesday.
Still, hurdles remain for the Dow and its peers. The US continues to grapple with the coronavirus and its economic fallout, with slowed hiring and spending activity suggesting the recovery has weakened. Weekly jobless claims stabilized at historic highs after weeks of steady declines. Market strategists also warn that the rally’s reliance on tech giants poses a major downside risk should any one of the mega-caps falter.
Should the Dow overcome such obstacles, it stands to break through its pre-pandemic peak. The index sits roughly 1,000 points, or a 3.5% gain, from setting a new record.
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