401(k) investors rejoice: Dow tops 24000 for first time – USA TODAY


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The Dow notched a fresh milestone Thursday, topping 24,000 for the first time, adding to the sizable 2017 gains of 401(k) investors that have exposure to stocks in their retirement accounts.

Right after the start of trading today, the blue chip stock index ticked above the big number, climbing as much as 130 points to 24,070.66.

The stock market rally of 2017, which has pushed the Dow up more than 21%, has been fueled by a global economic recovery that has been a boon for corporate profits and lifted consumer confidence to its highest levels since 2000.

A 401(k) investor with $100,000 invested in the Dow at the start of the year now has an estimated account balance of $121,000. 

It took the Dow Jones industrial average just 43 days to climb from 23,000 to 24,000, its fastest 1,000-point move since the 35 days it took earlier this year to rise from 20,000 to 21,000, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. Each 1,000-point jump, however, equates to a smaller percentage move as the Dow’s price grows larger. 

It will take a rise of 4.2% for the Dow to get to the next big milestone: Dow 25K.

Rising hopes for passage of tax cut legislation in Washington, D.C., has also lifted the mood of investors. Lower tax rates for businesses and everyday Americans is seen as boosting corporate sales and profits as well as consumer spending.

“Stocks have soared this year, lifted by the strong winds of improving global growth, optimism about pro-growth U.S. policies and still-low interest rates,” says Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones. 

Heading into today’s trading session the Dow had posted 62 record high closes this year.

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The Dow isn’t the only U.S. stock index to post big gains this year. The rally has been broad. It has pushed the Standard & Poor’s 500 up more than 17%, the technology-filled Nasdaq up nearly 27% and the small-company Russell 2000 nearly 14% higher.

“Tech has led the rally, giving the performance advantage to the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, but the Dow’s 24,000 milestone reflects the market’s (broad-based strength), suggesting further gains could lie ahead,” Warne says.    

However, Wall Street pros are closely watching to see if there is a shift in investor preference away from top-performing tech stocks to other parts of the market that have not shot up as much. 

The Nasdaq, which is the best performer of all the major U.S. stock indexes in 2017, fell nearly 1.3% on Wednesday, a day that saw the Dow and Russell 2000 small-cap index notch fresh records.

“The week has again been characterized by a continued bid for the impoverished and neglected corners of the market,” says Chris Verrone, a market analyst at New York-based research firm Strategas Research Partners.



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