Stocks Close at Record Highs as Rally Continues on First Trading Day of 2020

Stocks finish at record highs Thursday, the first trading day of 2020, as investors kick off the new trading year in a buoyant mood driven by the prospect of a formal trade agreement between Washington and Beijing.
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  1. Stocks closed at record highs after setting all-time intraday highs on the first trading day of 2020.
  2. Equities got a boost from the prospect of a formal trade agreement between Washington and Beijing and moves by China to boost its economy.
  3. Tesla rose Thursday after analysts at Canaccord Genuity boosted their price target on the electric vehicle company to $500.

Stocks closed at record highs Thursday, the first trading day of 2020, as investors kicked off the new trading year in a buoyant mood driven by the prospect of a formal trade agreement between Washington and Beijing and moves by China to boost its economy.

All three major indexes traded at all-time intraday highs during Thursday's session.

President Donald Trump indicated Tuesday that "high level" officials from China would visit the White House on Jan. 15, to sign the phase one trade agreement brokered last month following nearly a year and a half of negotiations.

While details of the pact remain scant -- beyond pledges to roll back tariffs on China-made goods and increase the purchase of American agricultural products -- investors have cheered the fact that the two sides are at least inching toward a conclusion of their 18-month dispute.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Monday closed up 330.36 points, or 1.16%, to 28,868.80, the S&P 500 rose 0.84% to 3,257.85, and the Nasdaq climbed 1.33% to 9,092.19.

Leading the Dow Thursday were Walt Disney (DIS) - Get Report, Apple (AAPL) - Get Report and Goldman Sachs (GS) - Get Report.

The Dow jumped 22.3% in 2019, its strongest one-year performance since 2017.

The Dow is less than 4% away from 30,000. The blue-chip benchmark crossed 20,000 in late January 2017.

The S&P 500 gained 28.9% in 2019, its biggest one-year gain since 2013. The Nasdaq rallied 35.2% in 2019, also its best showing since 2013.

The Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.15% Thursday following a solid reading of manufacturing activity in China, as well as a New Year's Day move by the People's Bank of China to lower the amount of reserves banks must hold on their balance sheets.

Tesla (TSLA) - Get Report rose Thursday after analysts at Canaccord Genuity boosted their price target on the electric vehicle company $500 ahead of next week's fourth-quarter delivery report.

Canaccord analyst Jed Dorsheimer said Tesla's burgeoning business in China, where customers will start receiving Model 3 sedans on Jan. 7, and its developing footprint in Europe will offset slowing U.S. sales this year, while Model Y production will increase Tesla's overall capacity thanks to platforms shared with benchmark Model 3. Dorsheimer lifted his price target on Tesla by $140 to $515 a share, and expects fourth-quarter deliveries to bring its 2019 total past 360,000 units.

Airbus has topped rival Boeing as the world’s largest planemaker for the first time since 2011, a result that wasn't unexpected as Boeing remains mired in the 737 MAX crisis.

Airbus delivered 863 aircraft in 2019, Reuters reported, citing airport and tracking sources said on Wednesday. Deliveries rose 7.9% from 800 aircraft in 2018.

Boeing, meanwhile, through the first 11 months of 2019 delivered just 345 aircraft, down from 704 the year before. Boeing has yet to release deliveries data for the full year.

Boeing's best-selling jet -- the 737 MAX -- has been grounded since mid-March following two fatal accidents.

Chipmakers Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) - Get Report and Applied Materials (AMAT) - Get Report had their price targets lifted by Nomura Instinet analyst David Wong.

The analyst boosted his price target on AMD to $58 from $40, and maintained his buy rating.

For Applied Materials, Wong lifted his price target to $75 from $68 and also maintained his buy rating on the stock.

Jobless claims for the week ended Dec. 28, fell by 2,000 to 222,000 and matched economists' forecasts. The four-week moving average of initial jobless claims rose by 4,750 to 233,250, the highest since January 2018.