Dow’s Push to Record High Continues as Retail Sales Offset Recession Fears

The Dow and broader U.S. stock market rallied on Tuesday after stronger than expected retail sales data alleviated concerns about a slowing economy. Meanwhile, cryptocurrencies clawed back toward record highs as bitcoin and the major altcoins rallied.

Dow Outpaces Broader Market

The Dow’s long road to recovery shifted into higher gear on Thursday, as the benchmark index rallied 110.00 points, or 0.4%, to 26,559.54. With the gain, the Dow has come within 300 points of all-time highs last reached in October.

Dow Jones Industrial Average inches closer to all-time high. | Chart via

The broad S&P 500 Index of large-cap stocks gained 0.2% to 2,905.03. Gains were largely concentrated in industrials and the much smaller real estate sector. Information technology and health care also rose.

A decent performance in information technology failed to spur on the Nasdaq Composite Index, which closed flat at 7,998.06.

U.S. Economy Takes a Positive Turn

Key measures of U.S. economic have improved in recent months, sending a strong signal that recessionary headwinds were being kept at bay.

Retail sales jumped 1.6% in March, the Department of Commerce reported Thursday. That was the biggest monthly gain since September 2017. Excluding automobiles, receipts climbed 1.2%.

Retail sales are a key proxy for consumer spending, which drives more than two-thirds of U.S. economic output.

In a separate report, the Labor Department said initial jobless claims fell last week to their lowest in 49 years. The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits decreased by 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 192,000 in the week ended April 13.

The U.S. economy as a whole weakened slightly at the start of the second quarter, though the underlying trend remained positive. Markit’s composite purchasing managers index (PMI) slipped to 52.8 in April from 54.6 the month before. The drop was mainly concentrated in the services industry.

Cryptocurrencies See Green

Crypto markets were back on the offensive Thursday and inching closer to yearly highs, offering yet another sign that the worst of the downtrend had passed.

Bitcoin (BTC), the largest and most influential cryptocurrency, rose nearly 1% to $5,290. BTC has found renewed stability north of $5,000 as the market carved out a new base of support following the two-month rally. Read more: Bitcoin’s Dominant Trend Cycle Points to Continued Rally through the Spring.

Among the majors, Ethereum (ETH) climbed 4.6% to $174.43. Litecoin (LTC) added 3.8% to trade at $82.73. Binance Coin (BNB), one of the fastest-growing cryptocurrencies, surged 11.6% to $21.79.

Small-cap cryptocurrencies also saw big returns, with Maker (MKR), Texos (XTZ) and Basic Attention Token (BAT) rallying at least 8%. For more small-cap analysis, click here.

The total value of all cryptocurrencies reached $180.7 billion as reported volumes topped $44.6 billion.

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