The Dow Jones Industrial Average got a late Christmas present today (Dec.26), recording its biggest single-day point gain ever.
Before close, the Dow climbed 1,086 points, making up for a brutal 653-point plunge on Monday, its worst Christmas Eve ever. (US exchanges were closed on Christmas Day.) Today’s 4.7% increase was the Dow’s largest percentage gain since 2009, and ranked as one of the index’s largest single-day percentage gains since 2000.
The Dow was joined in its strong performance by the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, which saw their own highest percentage gains since 2011. The S&P finished up 4.2%, and the Nasdaq jumped 5%.
The day was particularly cheerful for retail stocks. MasterCard reported that US retail sales grew 5.1% to top $850 billion this holiday season—their highest growth in six years—led by clothing and home-improvement. Amazon also announced a record-breaking holiday, though the company never actually reveals what sales numbers its breaking.
Either way, investors welcomed the news. “The recent selloff reflected fears of an impending recession which were blown away today by Amazon and other retailers reporting a record holiday selling season,” Ed Yardeni, president of Yardeni Research, told the Washington Post (paywall). “Santa is back.”
Big gains like today’s have often followed sizable losses in the preceding 10 days, and the rebound doesn’t mean the anxiety that led to the Christmas Eve sell-off has vanished. ”We still have a ways to go,” John Augustine, chief investment officer at Huntington Private Bank, told CNBC. “We need to have three days of moving higher into the close to stem this wave of selling.”
Still, Wall Street is feeling optimistic about 2019. Major forecasters generally expect the market to rally.