A 6-month drought for the Dow Jones Industrial Average nears an end — but key hurdles remain

Is it time for Wall Street to break out the Dow 27,000 hats that were summarily shelved back in October as a stock-market rally ran out of steam?

It’s hard to say for certain, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.64% nonetheless, is on the verge of not just a fresh psychological milestone but also its first record in six months.

As of Thursday, the Dow stood less than 2% (about 1.7%) shy of its record close at 26,828.39 that was put in on Oct. 3. That all-time high gave way to a global equity rout widely blamed on a combination of worries about the pace of rate hikes by the Federal Reserve and the unresolved tariff conflict with China.

However, both of those fears, which had threatened to upend a bull run for equity markets that has persisted for a decade as a historically reliable recession indicator in the U.S. Treasury market last week flashed bright red, have faded.

Read: Here are three times when the Fed denied the yield curve’s recession warnings, and were wrong

Also read: The yield curve inverted — here are 5 things investors need to know

What happened?

The Fed at its late-January policy-setting gathering stated that it would put rate hikes on pause as it took a wait-and-see approach. In March, it maintained a dovish tone, and affirmed that it would end the rundown of its balance sheet earlier than had been anticipated. The moves soothed worries about tightening financial conditions even as worries remain about a slowing global economy.

On top of that, the two largest economies in the world are seen inching toward a resolution of a tariff dispute that has hung over the market for the better part of a year.

Absent those headwinds, notably the Fed’s rate

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