Stocks closed at new all-time highs on Thursday as more accommodative monetary policy from China provided a tailwind to global risk assets to start 2020. China’s central bank announced plans to reduce the required reserve ratios for banks to help support its economy. The S&P 500 advanced 0.8%, while the Dow climbed 330 points. The Nasdaq Composite rallied 1.3%, posting its best day since early October. All three benchmarks vaulted to fresh record closing levels. This follows Tuesday’s session where the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite each capped their strongest annual performance since 2013, while the Dow notched its best year since 2017.
Seven of 11 S&P 500 sectors closed in positive territory, with Technology shares pacing gains, up 1.7%. Apple floated above $300 per share for the first time. Semiconductors outperformed, with Advanced Micro Devices rallying 7.1% and touching its first record high since 2000. Utilities led the laggards, while other traditionally defensive groups also trailed.
Treasuries strengthened, with the yield on the 10-year note down four basis points to 1.88%. On the data front, initial jobless claims came in at 222,000 in the most recent period, the lowest in four weeks. However, the four-week moving average increased to the highest since January 2018 amid the more volatile holiday season.
In commodities, WTI crude rose 0.2% to $61.18/barrel as U.S.-China trade optimism was countered by a stronger U.S. dollar. COMEX gold added 0.5% to $1,531.00/ounce on the heels of its strongest annual performance since 2010.