Dow heads towards 29,000 as Mideast tensions de-escalate

Boeing gave the Dow a partial boost, after President Donald Trump said he doesn’t believe a 737 crash in Iran was due to a mechanical error.
Image: New York Stock Exchange
Traders Neil Catania, left, and John Panin work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, on Jan. 9, 2020.Richard Drew / AP

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/ Source: CNBC.com
By Fred Imbert, CNBC

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 182 points higher Thursday, inching closer to reaching 29,000 for the first time.

The S&P 500 climbed 0.5 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.6 percent, helped by Apple shares hitting a record high after Chinese government data showed that iPhone sales rose 18 percent in December.

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Boeing gave the Dow a boost after President Donald Trump said he doesn’t believe a 737 crash in Iran was due to a mechanical error.

Wall Street is coming off a solid performance on Wednesday that led the Nasdaq to intraday and closing record highs. The S&P 500 also posted an intraday all-time high after Trump said Iran appeared to be “standing down” after firing a barrage of missiles at military bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq.

“We do not want to be dismissive of the political ramification of recent events, but we doubt that they will have a long-lasting effect on the trajectory of markets unless matters develop well beyond where they stand today,” said Michael Shaoul, chairman and CEO of Marketfield Asset Management, in a note.

Trump's comments — coupled with the fact that no U.S. casualties were reported from the attack — soothed investor fears of further escalation between the two countries. They also quelled worries of a sharp jump in energy prices.

Wall Street also digested strong employment data on Thursday, which helped lift sentiment. Weekly jobless claims fell by 9,000 to 214,000 from 223,000, better than the expected 220,000.

Investors were also optimistic about the signing of the the so-called phase one U.S.-China trade deal. The Chinese Commerce Ministry confirmed Thursday that Vice Premier Liu He will fly to Washington to sign the agreement.