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In a Year of Tech, Some Venerable Names Dominated the Dow


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Is there a youth serum in the markets? Two tech stalwarts, Apple and Microsoft, born nearly half-a-century ago, not only contributed the most to 2019’s big total return, but to the decade’s. In fact, those lone members of the trillion-dollar market-cap club got stronger in 2019, racking up an 8.45% share of the decade’s total S&P 500 return, but 14.8% over the last 12 months, according to data compiled by Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones indices.

But Apple and Microsoft are merely middle-aged. Some far older stocks showed they can also strut their stuff. The largest bank by assets, JPMorgan Chase, which traces its history to 1895, saw its shares rise 42%, ending at an all-time high of $139.40, the third best in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. 777彩票地址man Sachs,777彩票地址 founded in 1869, was close behind. 777彩票地址man finished 2018 as the worst Dow performer, beset by a Malaysian scandal, and rebounded to end 2019 some 36% higher, near the top of the Dow.

Procter & Gamble, 182-years young, rallied 35%, hitting all-time highs bucking a sluggish consumer staples sector and a stretch of slow growth. Then there’s a mere century-old Walt Disney, which soared on its movie box-office moxie, its theme park growth, and mostly its move into streaming. Nearly half its 35% return in 2019 came in two major moves for the stock—in April and November—both tied to steaming.

And yet the most surprising revival may be General Electric, an original member of the Dow in 1896 that was booted in 2018. GE started 2019 at $7.57, down more than 80% from all-time highs, and finished up 50%. It’s a start.

Last Week
A Very Good Year

777彩票地址777彩票地址 soared in 2019, with the Dow industrials finishing up 22.3% for the year; the S&P 500, 28.9%; and the Nasdaq a rousing 35.2%. Housing strengthened, manufacturing weakened, and consumers spent. Shares outpaced earnings growth, and there were signs that rising labor costs might be squeezing margins. Inflation hung just below 2%. On the week, China stimulus drove stocks to new highs on Thursday, then slipped on Friday’s Middle East turmoil. The Dow closed at 28,634.88, off 0.04%; the S&P 500 at 3234.85, down 0.2%; and the Nasdaq at 9020.77, up 0.2%.

Escalation in Iraq

777彩票地址A U.S. drone strike killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, leader of the Quds Force, in a convoy near Baghdad International Airport. The Department of Defense claimed that Soleimani was planning attacks on U.S. forces and diplomats in Iraq. Also killed: top Iraqi paramilitary leader Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes. The airstrike was an escalation from a rocket attack that killed a U.S. contractor in late December, which resulted in a U.S. airstrike that killed 25 Iran-backed Iraqi militia, triggering a mob that stormed the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. Iran promised “severe revenge” for Soleimani’s death. Israel went on high alert. Oil prices surged.

Trade: The Final Details

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He flew to Washington to complete the phase-one trade deal between the two countries. A signing ceremony will take place on Jan. 15 at the White House. President Trump says he will begin phase-two talks later in Beijing. Full details of the deal have still not been released.

Ghosn’s Great Escape

Former Renault, Nissan , and Mitsubishi chief Carlos Ghosn disappeared from Japan, where he was awaiting a trial on charges of financial misconduct, and emerged in Lebanon, where he grew up, apparently changing planes in Turkey. Ghosn, a citizen of France, Brazil, and Lebanon, was pressing for closer ties between Nissan and Renault when he was arrested in Japan, and periodically jailed, interrogated, and indicted. Lebanon has no extradition treaty with Japan, which seized Ghosn’s $14 million bail.

Trouble With Fracking

The Wall Street Journal reported that forecasts of oil and gas production from fracking look increasingly suspect. The paper collected estimates from 29 shale producers from 2014 to 2017 and compared them to estimates from public data. Earlier in the year, the WSJ reported that four major frackers overshot by some 10%; producers now look like they missed the target by 15%.

Australia Burning

777彩票地址Wildfires blasted Australia’s southeast coast, forcing widespread evacuations and straining firefighting resources. The government warned of record-breaking heat, with Australia’s summer, and fire season, just starting.

Email: editors@barrons.com


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