The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied to a record high on Thursday, led by UnitedHealth shares, after testimony by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell this week that signaled easier monetary policy could be implemented later this month.
The 30-stock average broke above 27,000 for the first time in its history, rising 227.88 points, or 0.9% to 27,088.08. The Dow first closed above 26,000 in January of 2018, so it’s been a little more than a year-and-half trek between 1,000 point moves. The gains were largely driven by expectations the Fed will cut rates, insulating the market from a slowing economy and a trade battle with China.
In testimony to the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, Powell said business investments across the U.S. have slowed “notably” recently as uncertainties over the economic outlook linger. As a result, expectations of an upcoming rate cut grew.
“Sure, 27,000 is just a number and in the whole scope of things isn’t meaningful,” said Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist at LPL Financial. “What it is though, is a reminder for all investors that this bull market has ignored all the scary headlines for years and the dual benefit of fiscal and monetary policy could mean it has a lot longer to go than most expect.”
In economic news, the U.S. consumer price index — a widely followed measure of inflation — rose more than expected last month, with the core CPI posting its biggest gain in 1½ years. But that failed to dent investors’ expectations that the Fed will deliver a rate cut.
—CNBC’s Silvia Amaro contributed to this report.