Stocks Hit Record Highs as Investors Ignore Impeachment

The U.S. stock market shrugged off the impending impeachment vote Wednesday morning, pushing major U.S. stock indexes to record highs.

The S&P 500 moved up to 3198 to set a new high in the first hour of trading Wednesday morning. The Nasdaq Composite also hit its highest level ever. The Dow Jones Industrial Average moved higher but remained just below the all-time high set on Monday.

All three indexes retreated from the highs as the morning stretched on to trade around flat with Tuesday’s close.

The stock market has had a tremendous year. The Dow is up 19.49 percent compared with a year ago. The S&P 500 is up 25.42 percent. The Nasdaq is up 30.18 percent.

The exuberance of investors contrasts sharply with the deep divides in Washington, DC, where Democrats have used their House majority to relentlessly attack President Donald Trump and now appear certain to vote to impeach him. The stock market’s performance is even more remarkable given the inversion of the yield curve earlier this year and the mainstream media’s fearmongering about recession risks and trade tensions earlier this year.

The S&P 500 inched to an all-time high on Wednesday, extending a record-setting run as optimism about global economic growth strengthens, limited somewhat by a steep drop in FedEx shares.

The Nasdaq also hit a record high. All three major indexes were on pace for their sixth straight session of gains, building on a rally from late last week spurred by expectations of an initial U.S.-China trade deal.

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Analysts said the trade agreement, announced on Friday, removed a major risk for global equity markets, leaving stocks with slightly more room to rise in what is left of 2019.

“The trade truce with China has really set the backdrop for a continued move higher to the end of the year,” said Chris Zaccarelli, Chief Investment Officer, Independent Advisor Alliance, Charlotte, North Carolina.

“I don’t see a huge rally, just a slow drip.”

The benchmark S&P 500 hit its fifth consecutive record high on Wednesday, its longest streak since January 2018.

However, holding back gains on the index was a 10% drop in FedEx (FDX.N) shares after the U.S. parcel delivery company cut its fiscal 2020 profit forecast on heavy expenses, slowing global trade and the fallout from its breakup with Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O).

The profit warning from FedEx pressured shares of rival United Parcel Service Inc (UPS.N), with the Dow Jones Transport Average .DJT down 0.9%.

The market also largely shrugged off the near certain impeachment of Donald Trump as the House of Representatives gears up for a historic vote later in the day on two charges accusing the U.S. President of abusing his power and obstructing Congress.

Trading history during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton and the resignation of President Richard Nixon suggests Wall Street has little to worry about.

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