Investor Alert

Market Extra

Nov. 24, 2020, 12:04 p.m. EST

The Dow just eclipsed a milestone at 30,000 as stock market rallies

Mark DeCambre

The Dow Jones Industrial Average just surpassed a psychologically significant 30,000 milestone, which would mark the first such round-number level for the benchmark since mid January as the stock market attempts to punch higher in the wake of the volatility inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The blue-chip index carved out an intraday record peak at 30,116.51 on Tuesday .

The Dow has traversed 218 trading days since hitting an important milestone at 29,000 on Jan. 15, but has struggled over the past several months as concerns about the viral epidemic has delivered an outsize hit to the large-capitalization gauge.

The Dow’s (DOW:DJIA) , on Tuesday, was sparked by further news of progress on an effective remedy for COVID-19 and progress toward a transition to the presidency of former Vice President Joe Biden.

Gains this week for the Dow come were mostly fueled by fresh reports on progress toward a vaccine, with the University of Oxford and  AstraZeneca  saying their coronavirus vaccine candidate was found to  have as much as a 90% efficacy rate  in preventing infections without serious side effects in a late-stage trial

To be sure, round numbers like 30,000 aren’t necessarily significant for investors, but they can help to reflect growing upbeat sentiment, despite a number of risks that still face investors, including the resurgence of COVID-19 in parts of the world and concerns about how best to distribute the vaccine candidates when they are authorized to be used widely.

It is also worth noting that the higher the Dow rises, the smaller each 1,000-point move is in percentage terms, but individual investors have tended to pay close attention to the Dow when it carves out fresh milestones.

In company-specific terms, since hitting 29,000, Apple (NAS:AAPL) has been the largest contributor to the Dow’s rally, adding more than twice any other component over the past 10 months. The Dow is price-weighted, so the stocks that have the highest price tend to be the most influential. However, Apple’s share price was split four-for-one at the end of August, shifting it from the most influential Dow component on a price basis to the middle of the pack.

At around $113, as of Tuesday late-morning, Apple’s shares rank 22nd in terms of price among the Dow’s 30 components.

Still, according to Dow Jones Market Data, Apple has added 1,300 points to the Dow since the gauge hit 29,000, while UnitedHealth Group (NYS:UNH) , which is now the blue-chip member with the richest price at about $338, has added over 400 points to the point-weighted index.

Apple’s stock split a few months ago also set off a cascade of changes by the owners of the blue-chip benchmark, S&P Dow Jones Indices, which added salesforce.com Inc. (NYS:CRM) ,Amgen (NAS:AMGN) and Honeywell International (NYS:HON) to the index, replacing iconic Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYS:XOM) , Pfizer and Raytheon Technologies (NYS:RTX)

Link to MarketWatch's Slice.