Stocks Continue A Winning Streak; Dow Industrials Now Over 25,000
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
We are four days into the new year and the stock market rally shows no signs of letting up. Today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished above 25,000 for the first time. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports that strong global growth and low interest rates are behind the surge.
JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: A lot of people predicted that Donald Trump's election would bring an end to the long, multi-year rally in stock prices. They couldn't have been more wrong. The Dow climbed 25 percent last year, as Trump frequently points out.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Our stock market just hit another record high. It's the highest it's ever been in history by far.
ZARROLI: And the market keeps rising. But Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab, says just because the rally has happened under Trump's watch doesn't mean he should take much of the credit for it.
LIZ ANN SONDERS: Just simply being objective and looking at the numbers there have been plenty of other presidents who have had a better stock market. I wouldn't suggest that any of those presidents deserve most of the credit.
ZARROLI: Instead, Sonders says, the stock market has been reacting to a lot of broader economic factors.
SONDERS: I think the turn in earnings and the strength in global growth was enough to propel the market. And then the longer-term story has been just massive liquidity courtesy of central banks.
ZARROLI: Sonders says it's not just the Federal Reserve that has been keeping interest rates relatively low. So have central banks in Europe and Japan. And so there's been a confluence of low interest rates and strong global growth. In fact, this is the first time since before the Great Recession that all of the world's major economies are growing at the same time. Stocks have been going up everywhere, and investors have been the beneficiaries. Emily Ruff, who teaches at a college in Minnesota, got her first retirement account five years ago. During that time stocks have steadily risen, which actually worries her.
EMILY RUFF: I'm a little bit nervous about what's going to happen and people talking about how the current tax policies might overheat the market. And it's been about 10 years since the last recession, so we're kind of due.
ZARROLI: In fact, the big corporate tax cuts just passed by Congress should be good for the bottom line at most companies, and surveys of business leaders suggest they're feeling pretty optimistic about the future. Still, the rally is showing signs of aging. Paul Christopher is head of global market strategy at Wells Fargo Investment Institute.
PAUL CHRISTOPHER: We think the economy will be a little bit stronger, juiced a little bit by tax cuts. But we are getting later on in that cycle. Maybe we're in the eighth inning or so.
ZARROLI: If nothing else, the Fed and other central banks are already taking steps to raise interest rates, and that could finally begin to put the brakes on the market's long rally. Jim Zarroli, NPR News, New York.