Dow Continues to Pursue 40K

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped above 40,000 for the first time Thursday as the bull market marched higher on bets that inflationary pressures would ease and interest rates would come down.

The 30-stock index hiked 79.01 points to 39,987.01.

The Dow was last up 83 points, or 0.2%. At its high of the day, the average touched 40,0051, the culmination of a bull market that began in October 2022. The index had neared the 40,000 mark earlier this year, before a slight April pullback on worries about high interest rates knocked it back down. The rally was rekindled in May on the back of strong earnings and some soft inflation readings.

The S&P 500 gained 7.26 points to 5,315.44, to a new record after closing above the 5,300 level for the first time ever on Wednesday.

The NASDAQ Composite gained 14.66 points to 16,757.05.

It was Walmart that led the charge above 40,000 as the world’s biggest retailer popped 6% on strong fiscal first-quarter results. Walmart is now up 26% on the year.

On top of that, tech-related darlings such as Amazon, Meta Platforms and Nvidia are all up sharply year to date.

Amazon, which just joined the more than century-old Dow in the first quarter, is more than 22% higher for the year. Other top Dow performer this year include American Express and Goldman Sachs. Both stocks up more than 20% as investors bet the economy would skirt a recession and the consumer would remain strong.

Nvidia, which is not in the Dow, is leading the overall bull market and was up another 0.7% on Thursday. The AI chip maker has gained 90% so far this year.

That performance was helped by the April reading of the consumer price index, a broad measure of how much goods and services cost at the cash register, which increased 0.3% from the prior month. That was slightly below the Dow Jones estimate of 0.4%. Consumer prices still grew 3.4% from a year ago.

Prices for the 10-year Treasury inched back, raising yields to 4.37% from Wednesday’s 4.35%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained 58 cents to $79.21 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices erased $8.60 to $2,386.30.