Dow Jones closes over 20,000 for the first time

Specialist Anthony Rinaldi works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, Materials and financial companies led U.S. stock indexes higher in afternoon trading Tuesday as investors sized up the latest round of company earnings news. Energy stocks also rose as crude oil prices headed higher. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

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Specialist Anthony Rinaldi works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, Materials and financial companies led U.S. stock indexes higher in afternoon trading Tuesday as investors sized up the latest round of company earnings news. Energy stocks also rose as crude oil prices headed higher. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

UPDATE @ 4 P.M.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above the psychologically important 20,000 level Wednesday after crossing the milestone for the first time ever shortly after the markets opened for trading.

Many investors pointed to strong fourth-quarter earnings and President Donald Trump’s pro-growth initiatives as the catalyst for the surge, which drove index of 30 of the nation’s largest companies up 155.12 points, or 0.78 percent, to 20,067.83 at 4 p.m. — the 18th record record close for the Dow since Election Day.

UPDATE @ 9:33 a.m.:

The Dow Jones hit 20,000 moments after this morning’s opening bell.

INITIAL STORY:

Global shares rose strongly Wednesday, building on Wall Street’s overnight rally and hopes that the Dow Jones index will finally break through the 20,000 mark for the first time ever today.

KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Germany’s DAX was up 1.3 percent to 11,746 while the CAC-40 in France rose 1 percent to 4,879. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 0.4 percent higher at 7,175. Wall Street was set for a solid opening too with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures both up 0.3 percent.

WALL STREET DRIVER: U.S. stocks continue to be the main driver across the world. They have enjoyed a strong rally recently amid hopes that the Trump administration will cut taxes, stimulate the economy and reduce red tape. However, the Dow has found resistance as it tries to break through the 20,000 mark for the first time ever. On Tuesday, it closed 0.6 percent higher at 19,912.71.

ANALYST TAKE: “Wall Street looks like it has potential to try for the magic 20,000 record high that has eluded it for so long,” said Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets.

JAPAN SURPLUS: Japan posted a trade surplus in 2016, its first in six years, as lower oil prices pulled imports lower, the government reported Wednesday. A jump in exports to China and other Asian countries late in the year also helped turn the balance to black. The 4.1 trillion yen ($35.8 billion) surplus compared with a 2.8 trillion yen deficit in 2015. Exports fell 7.4 percent from a year earlier to 70.04 trillion yen ($617 billion) while imports dropped 16 percent to 66 trillion yen ($581 billion).

ASIA’S DAY: Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 surged 1.4 percent to 19,057.50 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.4 percent to 23,049.12. Sydney’s S&P ASX 200 gained 0.4 percent to 5,671.50 and the Shanghai Composite index added 0.2 percent to 3,149.55. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.1 percent to 2,066.94. The Sensex in India added 1.3 percent to 27,720.31. Benchmarks in Southeast Asia were mostly higher.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude dipped 48 cents to $52.70 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 51 cents to $54.93 in London.

CURRENCY: In currency markets, the euro was up 0.2 percent to $1.0750 while the dollar fell 0.2 percent to 113.55 yen.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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