Another day, another milestone cleared for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which on Thursday marked its first close above 34,000 in its history and its fourth this year.
The accomplishment isn’t likely to get Wall Street investors too jazzed because the achievement becomes less impressive the higher the market takes the blue-chip benchmark. After all, a move from 33,000 to 34,000 marks a rise of just over 3%.
Nonetheless, the Dow’s DJIA, +0.90% advance provides further evidence of the recovery that the market and the economy are attempting to complete from the worst pandemic in generations.
“The stock market continues to validate the optimistic forecasts from last year which predicted a strong economy that was driven by consumers emerging from their homes, emboldened by vaccinations or by a belief that the worst of Covid was behind us,” wrote Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance.
Anu Gaggar, senior global investment analyst for Commonwealth Financial Network, said that although folks may not be pulling out hats emblazoned with 34,000, “markets have much to applaud today.”
“Consumers emerged from the chills of February and hit the stores with a pocket full of stimulus money. As a result, retail sales shot up 9.8%, well above consensus expectations and second only to last May’s number,” the analyst said in emailed remarks.
“Markets also like what they are seeing in the first round of earnings reports, with earnings momentum expected to continue through 2021,” Gaggar said.
Market participants have been persistently uneasy about valuations but that has yet to stop equities in any demonstrable way.
The Dow took 20 sessions to traverse and eclipse 34,000, which marks its fourth 1,000-point milestone so far this year, already the most since 2017, which saw five such milestones, according to Dow Jones Market Data.
Home Depot HD, +0.85% contributed 264 points to the price-weighted Dow’s recent run-up, with UnitedHealth Group UNH, +3.83% adding nearly 260 points and Microsoft Corp. MSFT, +1.53% adding about 140 points to the benchmark’s rally to 34,000.
In addition to the record-setting milestone on Thursday, the S&P 500 index SPX, +1.11% finished at an all-time closing high and the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +1.31% finished 0.4% from its Feb. 12 record high, which would consummate its recovery after sliding into correction, defined as a drop of at least 10% from a recent peak, put in early March.