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Jan. 26, 2018, 4:43 p.m. EST

Dow ends more than 220 points higher as tech, health-care stocks rally

Fourth-quarter GDP is weaker than expected, but strategists say it isn’t likely to upend a market mostly trending higher in January

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By Mark DeCambre and Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch


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A surge in shares of Intel are helping propel the Dow to fresh records.

U.S. equity benchmarks on Friday surged to session highs, finishing the day squarely in record territory and booking a fourth straight weekly advance. A reading of fourth-quarter gross domestic product came in slightly softer than expected but was viewed by investors as healthy enough not to derail the perception that the economy is on firm footing.

Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar pared some of its early losses, but remained in negative territory against its peers, after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on CNBC on Friday said a strong buck is in the best interest of the U.S., and as President Donald Trump delivered a keynote speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Trump’s speech highlighted the strength of the domestic economy and offered a less protectionist stance on international trade.

What are the main benchmarks doing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.65% rose 223.92 points, or 0.9%, to a record at 26,616.71. Shares of Intel Corp. and 3M Co . /zigman2/quotes/205029460/composite MMM -1.23%  contributed a significant portion, about 75 points, of the Dow’s solid advance.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -1.45% climbed about 33.62 points, or 1.2%, to an all-time high at 2,872.87 on the back of a 2.2% gain in the health-care sector and a 1.6% rally in technology, viewed as the growth areas of the market.

The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index , meanwhile, surged 94.61 points, or 1.3%, to 7,505.77, closing at a record.

All three benchmarks finished at their best levels of the day, suggesting that investors continue to rush into equities amid an almost relentless ascent for assets perceived as risky despite rising concerns about lofty valuations.

Read : ‘FOMO’ stock market sees a week of record inflows

For the week, the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 all recorded advances of at least 2.1%, marking a fourth consecutive weekly rise.

What are the drivers for the markets?

Consumers and businesses powered the economy to a 2.6% rate of growth in the final three months of 2017, but declining inventories and a wider trade deficit kept the U.S. from hitting the 3% mark for the third quarter in a row for the first time in 13 years.

Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast a 3% increase in gross domestic product, the official scorecard for the U.S. economy.

Still, the reading was viewed as sufficiently solid to maintain what has been a mostly bullish run for U.S. equities amid better-than-expected corporate results and expectations for a pro-business legislative regime under Trump.

A weaker dollar also has been a catalyst for gains in shares of multinational companies because it can boost sales and revenues from buyers using other currencies.

Check out: MarketWatch’s Economic Calendar

/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
31,672.64
-207.60 -0.65%
Volume: 168.87M
May 24, 2022 12:28p
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/zigman2/quotes/205029460/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 142.61
-1.77 -1.23%
Volume: 934,789
May 24, 2022 12:28p
P/E Ratio
14.82
Dividend Yield
4.19%
Market Cap
$82.16 billion
Rev. per Employee
$371,926
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/zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime
US : S&P US
3,916.24
-57.51 -1.45%
Volume: 1.05B
May 24, 2022 12:28p
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