Tech rally, trade hopes boost Wall St to record highs

Andrew Cummings
January 12, 2020

In Asian markets, Japan's Nikkei Stock Average rose 0.47%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gained 0.27%, China's Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.08% and India's BSE Sensex rose 0.36%. U.S. President Donald Trump refrained from ordering more military action, and Iran's foreign minister said the missile strikes on Iraqi bases that house U.S. forces had "concluded" Tehran's response.

Stocks around the world climbed on Thursday, and the S&P 500 was heading for a record as markets continued their rally on relief that the United States and Iran appear to be stepping away from the edge of war.

The benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 0.

Apple gained on twin support from data showing iPhone sales jumped more than 18% in China in December, as well as a price target hike by Jefferies, on expectations of a strong finish to 2019.

Oil prices traded mostly flat as Brent crude futures rose 0.1% to trade at $65.38 per barrel, while US WTI crude futures fell 0.1% to trade at $59.49 a barrel. The Dow increased 0.7 percent to 28,824. China said its top trade negotiator, Vice Premier Liu He, will travel to Washington next week to sign a phase-one accord, building optimism among stock investors.

But also, he said, "in the first part of the year, there's always a lot of money that finds its way into the market".

After a wobbly start to the new year on fears of an all-out conflict in the Middle East, nerves eased as Washington and Tehran looked to defuse the crisis after Iran's retaliatory attack following the USA killing of a top Iranian general.

With the fourth-quarter earnings season set to begin in earnest next week, analysts expect profits for S&P 500 companies to have declined 0.6 per cent in their second consecutive quarterly decline, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.81-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.64-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

All three major indices were around or above their all-time closing highs as investors became more confident the fight between Teheran and Washington after the U.S. killed an Iranian commander won't escalate significantly.

The Dow recovered from a 200-point drop Monday but then fell more than 100 points Tuesday as investors grappled with the uncertainty surrounding the US and Iran.

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