The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped past 25000 for the first time Thursday, on pace to notch the fastest run to a fresh 1,000-point milestone in history. The blue-chip index, which heavily weights industrial giants such as Boeing Co. and Caterpillar Inc., was recently up 138 points, or 0.6%, at 25061. If the Dow industrials close above 25000, the jump from 24000 would have taken 23 trading days, ahead of the 24-day spans that took the index to 11000 in 1999 and 21000 in March. The S&P 500 climbed 0.4% and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.1%. Thursday’s moves marked the latest feat for a rally that has repeatedly wrong-footed skeptics and sent stock indexes around the world to multiyear highs. The Dow industrials hit five thousand-point milestones last year, the most such records in its 120 years. Faster economic growth around the globe and improving sentiment from consumers and businesses—both of which were elusive for many years since the financial crisis a decade ago—have helped power this rally in recent weeks. Economic data in the first days of the new year continued to suggest steady expansion in the U.S., China and Europe. “The turn of the calendar year doesn’t change the dynamics of economic growth and earnings growth,” said Kate Warne, investment strategist at retail brokerage Edward Jones. “We shouldn’t be surprised that markets continue to move higher because fundamentals continue to be positive and investor optimism is actually improving rather than investors becoming more cautious.” A year ago, Ms. Warne said many investors were asking her what could go wrong for stocks in the U.S., with the overwhelming belief that stocks would fall. This year, there has been a shift. Now the question she hears the most is how long can this rally continue and what could possibly end it, with investors overwhelmingly expecting stocks to rise. On Thursday, shares of financial firms led markets higher as a strong private jobs report increased investors’ expectations of further interest-rate hikes. Businesses across the country added 250,000 workers in December, according to payroll processor Automatic Data Processing Inc. and forecasting firm Moody’s Analytics, topping economists’ expectations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its monthly jobs report on Friday. Goldman Sachs Group gained 1.2%, making it one of the biggest contributors to the Dow’s point gain. American Express Co. added 1.9%, while JPMorgan Chase & Co. rose 1.7%.
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