Dow inches to fresh record as market eyes big annual gains

NEW YORK – The Dow edged to a fresh record on Dec 28 following another sleepy holiday season session as investors get ready to mark big annual gains.

“The last two months have been truly spectacular,” said Mr Steve Sosnick, of Interactive Brokers. “No institutional investor can afford to be under-invested.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average put on 0.1 per cent to 37,710.10, notching a second straight all-time closing high. The blue-chip index is up almost 14 per cent so far for all of 2023.

The broad-based S&P 500 climbed less than 0.1 per cent to 4,783.35, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index was essentially flat at 15,095.14.

Equities have trended higher since late October as the market has embraced moderating inflation and a strong labor market in the belief the US economy can avoid recession.

Data from the Department of Labour on Dec 28 showed a slight increase in unemployment claims. However, the level remains low by historic standards.

“My concern right now is that both stocks and bonds have been rallying so aggressively, we really have to think about the scenarios that would allow this to continue,” said Mr Sosnick, who noted that bond market predictions of six interest rate cuts in 2024 implies a weaker economy.

Among individual companies, Apple advanced 0.2 per cent after a federal court on Dec 27 suspended a ban on the US sale of its latest watch models.

A ban on sales of the watch had briefly gone into effect on Dec 26 after US President Joe Biden’s administration opted not to veto a ruling on the device’s patent.

Boeing dipped 0.7 per cent as the US aviation giant said its 737 Max aircraft should be inspected to check for loose hardware on plane rudder control systems.

The inspection only lasts about two hours, but the issue comes on the heels of other manufacturing and production problems that have slowed Max deliveries. AFP

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