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Dow hits 20,000 for the first time ever as stocks keep climbing

Jan. 25, 2017 Updated Wed., Jan. 25, 2017 at 8:02 a.m.

Specialist Frank Masiello wears a Dow 20,000 cap as he works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. The Dow Jones industrial average is trading over 20,000 points for the first time, the latest milestone in a record-setting drive for the stock market. The market has been marching steadily higher since bottoming out in March 2009 in the aftermath of the financial crisis. (Richard Drew / AP)
Specialist Frank Masiello wears a Dow 20,000 cap as he works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. The Dow Jones industrial average is trading over 20,000 points for the first time, the latest milestone in a record-setting drive for the stock market. The market has been marching steadily higher since bottoming out in March 2009 in the aftermath of the financial crisis. (Richard Drew / AP)
By James F. Peltz Los Angeles Times

The Dow Jones industrial average reached 20,000 points for the first time in history Wednesday as the stock market extended its rally in response to the election of President Donald Trump and prospects for higher corporate profits.

The famed average of 30 blue-chip stocks stood at 20,027 points in early trading, up 114 on the day.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index and the Nasdaq composite – broader gauges of the market – also were trading at or near record highs.

It appeared the Dow would eclipse 20,000 points last month – the closing high of 19,974.62 was set Dec. 20 – but the market then moved largely sideways for the next four weeks before resuming its advance.

That extended a months-long rally – and a bull market in stocks stretching back several years – that’s recently been propelled by Trump’s promises of business-friendly policies and Wall Street’s growing expectation of higher corporate earnings in the months to come.

It’s been a rally few saw coming because it looked so implausible a year ago when stock prices fell sharply in response to a financial crisis in China, low oil prices, uncertainty about where interest rates were headed and other factors.

But after rebounding from those concerns, stocks climbed steadily and then gained added momentum after the Nov. 8 election of Trump, who has called for corporate tax cuts, less regulation, more infrastructure building and a tougher U.S. stance on trade.

The Dow finished 2016 with a gain of 13.4 percent, while the S&P 500 rose 9.5 percent for the year and the Nasdaq composite gained 7.5 percent.

The Dow closed at 19,000 only two months ago, on Nov. 22. It has taken nearly 18 years for the average to nearly double from 10,000, which it reached in late-March 1999.

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