Stocks closed in record territory Thursday on continued investor confidence that a market-friendly Federal Reserve will cut interest rates when it meets later this month.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed above 27,000 for the first time in history, finishing the day at 27,088, a gain of 227 points, about 0.85%. Health care giant UnitedHealth rose 5.53%, helping boost the blue chip index into new territory.
The broad Standard & Poor's 500 index close within a tick of 3,000 at 2,999.91. The gain was 6.84 points, or about 0.23%. Health care again was the star performer after the Trump administration on Thursday withdrew a proposal to lower drug prices.
The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite closed down slightly for the day, finishing at 8,196, a mere 6 points below its break-even.
Markets have raced ahead at the start of the second half of the year following big gains in the first six months. The S&P is up 19.65% on the year. The Dow is up 16 percent and the Nasdaq has surged more than 23% in 2019.
Investors said this week's run is due to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's appearance on Capitol Hill, where in two days of testimony he signaled to lawmakers that the central bank is likely to raise rates in support of a strong economy.
"The Fed appears poised to do an 'insurance' rate cut at the end of this month, because of global growth and trade concerns," said Chris Zaccarelli of Independent Advisor Alliance.