The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a record high on Thursday for the first time since January as trade-war fears ebbed. The S&P 500 also jumped 0.6 percent to its first record high since last month, while the NASDAQ rose 1 percent.
Market anxiety over President Trump’s trade dispute with China was somewhat assuaged this week after China responded mildly to new American tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods. China responded with tariffs on only $60 billion in American products. The moves are an escalation of a conflict that began earlier this year, when the Trump administration imposed penalties on $50 billion in Chinese imports. China hit back at the time with its own tariffs on an equal amount of U.S. goods.
But despite the fears of a trade war sparked by the ongoing tariff dispute, the American economy has been buoyed recently by strong underlying indicators, including unemployment, which remains at 3.9 percent, the lowest since the year 2000. Labor Department data released Thursday revealed that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment insurance fell to a 49-year low last week, hitting a record for the third week in a row. New jobless claims fell 3,000 to 201,000 last week, the lowest level since 1969, and 9,000 less than economists expected.
The Dow spiked in January after Republicans’s December tax cuts infused optimism into the markets. The initial record highs crumbled in February during a 1,175 one-day plunge, but the stock market has remained relatively strong since then.