The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied to a record high on Thursday, led by UnitedHealth shares, after testimony by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell this week that signaled easier monetary policy could be implemented later this month.
The 30-stock average broke above 27,000 for the first time in its history, rising 227.88 points, or 0.9% to 27,088.08. The Dow first closed above 26,000 in January of 2018, so it’s been a little more than a year-and-half trek between 1,000 point moves. The gains were largely driven by expectations the Fed will cut rates, insulating the market from a slowing economy and a trade battle with China.
Microsoft has been the best-performing Dow stock since the index’s first close above 26,000, surging around 50% in that time. Visa, Cisco Systems and Nike are also up sharply since then.
“This week solidified the fact that the market doesn’t need, it doesn’t want, it’s demanding a rate cut from Powell,” said Jeff Kilburg, CEO of KKM Financial. “I do have a little bit of caution going into the earnings season because we have some forward-guidance uncertainty with the trade tensions, but the wind in the sails continues to be that dovish stance from Powell.”