Dow Crosses 26,000 as Trade Optimism Lifts Stocks

U.S. stocks advanced Friday, as the major benchmarks rebounded from their worst slide in two weeks on renewed optimism over China trade talks. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies rebounded from a midweek slump, strengthening the case for a larger short-term rally.

Dow Returns to Strength

The Dow Jones Industrial Average smashed through 26,000 on Friday and settled close to its intraday high. The blue-chip index closed up 181.18 points, or 0.7%, at 26,031.81. Twenty-three of 30 index members finished higher, led by Pfizer Inc. (PFE) and Intel Corp (INTC).

With the gain, the Dow extended its weekly winning streak to nine weeks, the longest since 1995.

The large-cap S&P 500 Index gained 0.6% to settle at 2,792.67. Nine of 11 primary sectors contributed to the rally, with shares of information technology companies leading the charge. The sector rose 1%. Health care and communication services also outperformed the broad average.

A strong performance for tech stocks sent the Nasdaq Composite Index sharply higher. The tech-laden average rose 0.9% to 7,527.54.

Trade Optimism Lifts Markets

Stocks returned to strength Friday on reports that officials from the U.S. and China held marathon talks aimed at resolving their trade dispute. Trade representatives met in Washington for nine hours on Thursday, where they discussed a range of issues including state subsidies and illicit technology transfers.

President Donald Trump was also said to be meeting China’s top trade negotiator, Vice Premier Liu He, on Friday. No further updates have been provided.

While a trade deal between the two countries remains highly unlikely, Trump has expressed willingness to extend the negotiating window beyond the March 1 deadline. He told reporters Friday that the deadline isn’t a “magical date” but a good barometer to measure progress from both sides.

Bitcoin Up 10%

Bitcoin’s price climbed back above $4,000 Friday, as momentum swung in favor of the bulls following a minor midweek slump. The leading digital currency by market cap reached a session high of $4,074 on Bitfinex and was last spotted in $4,050 range.

Via CoinMarketCap, bitcoin’s aggregate value was a hair below $4,000 at press time, enough for a gain of 1.3%. Over the past seven days, BTC gained 10.3%.

The top-20 coins traded higher on Friday and booked solid gains for the week. EOS was the top performer, gaining 3.87% for the week. Ethereum gained 22% and bitcoin cash was 18.5% higher.

Read our Week in Review: Crypto Spring? Bitcoin on Track to Snap Six-Month Losing Streak Following Spectacular Week.

The overall cryptocurrency market capitalization improved to $135.3 billion, having gained $15 billion over the past seven days. Trade volumes are down sharply from their early-week highs but are still well above the yearly average.

Disclaimer: The author owns Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi