Stock Market Today: Dow Jones Gets Closer to 20,000 on Auto Sales

stock market todayDow Jones (DJIA) Gets Assurance from Fed Minutes

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) inched closer to the 20,000 mark as stocks were buoyed by the high auto sales numbers posted by the auto giants. The U.S. Federal Reserve also released its minutes, which gave clues to investors that there may be higher growth coming.

The Fed minutes showed that the central bank is concerned that more fiscal stimulus could raise demand above sustainable levels. The Fed has forecast three interest rate hikes in 2017.

The DJIA added 60.40 points and closed at 19,942.16.

Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE), American Express Company (NYSE:AXP), Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS), and International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) were the top gainers in the Dow Jones.

The S&P 500 jumped 12.92 points to 2,270.75 and just missed touching its all-time high.

The NASDAQ Composite rose 47.92 points, or 0.9%, to 5,477.

Investors bought shares of companies focused on consumers, including automakers and retailers, which led stocks to rise in price.

General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) (GM stock) and Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) (Ford stock) soared as car companies reported strong sales for December 2016.

GM announced that its total U.S. sales climbed 10% in December from a year ago, and GM stock climbed 5.5%, to $37.09. Ford stock rose 4.6% to close at $13.17.

Miners also gained as the dollar declined from recent highs. Freeport-McMoran Inc (NYSE:FCX) gained 7.6% as the price of copper went up.

Watch Out for This in the Stock Market Today

Two of the likely losers in Thursday’s trading session are the big retailers.

Macy’s Inc (NYSE:M) stock was down more than 10% in pre-market trading, as the retailer posted disappointing holiday sales figures and announced the locations of 68 of the 100 stores it plans to close, as the company struggles to turn around.

Kohl’s Corporation (NYSE:KSS) is also down almost 14%, as the company lowered its forecast for fiscal 2016.

Although U.S. stock futures are in negative territory, investors may be tempted by the 20,000 mark, which does look very achievable. However, it may not sustain for long. Investors will keep an eye on economic indicators like jobless claims and non-farm payroll, to be announced on Thursday.