The Dow Jones industrial average finally broke through the 20,000 barrier on Wednesday morning – a historic high for the leading stock market index and one it has been close to breaching since Christmas.
The Dow, which first nearly topped 20,000 on 13 December and again on 6 January, when it came within 0.37 points of the landmark, finally broke through after the opening bell was rung on Wall Street by Ashton Poole, CEO of lender Triangle Capital. The closing bell will be rung by executives from InBev, brewers of Stella Artois but whether the Dow’s rise will go flat by then remains to be seen.
The market had rallied sharply in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential victory but seemed to loose steam ahead of his first day in office. It broke the barrier of Wednesday after infrastructure stocks rose sharply ahead of the market’s open, boosted by Trump’s renewed pledge to build a wall along the Mexican border and talks of massive infrastructure investment. A rise in Boeing’s shares, which reported better than expected results Wednesday, and the continued rally in the financial sector that has accompanied Trump’s win also helped push the Dow over the line.
The Dow record comes as the S&P 500 index, tech-heavy Nasdaq and London’s FTSE 100 stock market index have all hit record highs in recent weeks.
The Dow, which has risen about 9% since Trump’s victory, is probably the best-known US stock indicator although its limited measure is not the one favoured by most market professionals. It measures the performance of 30 of the largest publicly owned companies based in the United States, including Apple, ExxonMobil and Goldman Sachs. While it has inched over the 20,000 mark, overall its latest rise has been sudden. The Dow surpassed 19,000 for the first time just 42 days ago – two days before the Thanksgiving holiday. Similar sharp rises in the index have been followed by sharp falls.