New year cheer for stocks as rally rumbles on

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Stocks rose to all-time highs on Thursday as the strong rally in 2019 was set to continue in the first trading day of the new year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 116 points, or 0.4%. The S&P 500 traded 0.2% higher while the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.5%.

Chip stocks led the way on Wall Street. Advanced Micro Devices was up by 3.9% while Taiwan Semiconductor and Micron Technology both gained more than 2%. KLA and Intel rose by 2% and 1.4%, respectively.

Semiconductor stocks are coming off a strong performance in 2019. The VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH) surged 62% in 2019, its best one-year performance since 2003.

“We’re starting the year off on the sunny side,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities. “Besides the geopolitical tensions, the focus remains on the macro news which has been consistent and points to growth ahead.”

Thursday’s gains come after Wall Street booked a strong 2019 performance on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 rising 28.9% in the year. That was the broad index’s biggest annual gain since 2013, when it surged 29.6%. The Dow, meanwhile, climbed 22.3% while the Nasdaq Composite skyrocketed more than 35%.

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