Dow hits record high amid U.S.-China trade optimism

The Dow is now up nearly 18 percent for the year.
Image: Traders work on the floor at the NYSE in New York
Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York on Nov. 4, 2019.Brendan McDermid / Reuters

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/ Source: CNBC.com
By Fred Imbert, CNBC

Wall Street hit new highs on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbing to a new record of 27,490 within half an hour of the opening bell, and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indices also reaching new levels.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 128 points, or 0.5 percent, to hit its first all-time high since mid-July. Goldman Sachs contributed the most to the gains, rising 1.1 percent. Trade bellwethers Boeing and Caterpillar also traded higher, with Apple the best-performing Dow stock since the index hit its previous record.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.5 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively, to fresh record highs on Monday.

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The Dow’s year-to-date gain is now at nearly 18 percent, the S&P 500 is up more than 22 percent, and the Nasdaq is up more than 27 percent so far this year.

“The market rally is now broadening out, meaning it’s not just confined to tech, and we’ll likely go a little bit higher,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities. “It’s based on a lot of enthusiasm that continues to build around trade.”

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Sunday that American firms would be granted licenses to sell to Chinese telecom giant Huawei “very shortly.” Ross’ comments came after China said Friday it reached a consensus with the U.S. in principle following trade talks last week.

China and the U.S. have been engaged in a trade war for more than a year, but expectations for a deal being signed have increased recently. Last month, President Donald Trump said both sides had come to a “very substantial phase one” trade agreement that is expected to be signed later in November.

The move to record highs also follows the third rate cut by the Federal Reserve this year. The Fed also signaled it will not raise rates for the foreseeable future. However, the U.S. central bank also raised the bar for further rate cuts moving forward.

A strong U.S. jobs report out Friday also supported risk appetite for stocks. The U.S. economy added 128,000 jobs in October, the Labor Department said Friday.

Meanwhile, corporate earnings season has largely been better than expected. Seventy-five percent of the 360 S&P 500 companies that have reported have surpassed analyst expectations, FactSet data shows.

Under Armour posted Monday quarterly numbers that topped analyst expectations. However, the stock fell more than 15 percent after the company cut its 2019 revenue forecast, and disclosed a federal probe into its accounting practices.