Dow hits record high as trade fears wane


NEW YORK, Sept 20 (Reuters) -The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a record closing high on Thursday, the last of Wall Street's major indexes to fully regain ground after a correction that began in January.

Tech stocks led all three major U.S. indexes higher in a broad-based rally as trade worries subsided. The S&P 500 also hit a new closing high.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 251.22 points, or 0.95 percent, to 26,656.98, the S&P 500 gained 22.81 points, or 0.78 percent, to 2,930.76 and the Nasdaq Composite added 78.19 points, or 0.98 percent, to 8,028.23.

Microsoft Corp and Apple Inc were up 1.5 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively. The companies headed up the tech sector's 1.1 percent gain.

The rally reflected a market that seems to have taken the ongoing trade dispute in stride, after both countries announced impending tariffs on bilaterally-traded goods earlier in the week.

Trade sentiment was further boosted as the dollar index fell to its lowest in more than ten weeks. A weaker dollar supports U.S. exports.

"It has a lot to with the ebbs and flows of the headlines coming out of Washington," said Matthew Keator, partner in the Keator Group, a wealth management firm in Lenox, Massachusetts. "The macro issue of the day is risk-on trade, risk-off trade."

"Corporate cash flow is at a record high, unemployment is low, regulatory reform and tax reform have certainly provided winds to the sails of the market," Keator added.

The U.S. Labor Department reported new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to a near-49-year low, confirming a strong labor market a week before the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates.

Meanwhile, U.S. 10-year Treasury yields edged down but remained close to a 4-month high ahead of the Fed's anticipated rate hike. Higher rates typically benefit the financial sector, which was up 1.0 percent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 250.95 points, or 0.95 percent, to 26,656.71, the S&P 500 gained 23.32 points, or 0.80 percent, to 2,931.27 and the Nasdaq Composite added 78.36 points, or 0.99 percent, to 8,028.40.

Of the 11 major sectors of the S&P 500, eight were in positive territory.

Among the FAANG group of momentum stocks, Netflix Inc was lower. The remaining members of the group were up, with Facebook Inc, Apple Inc, and Google parent Alphabet Inc, gaining between 0.8 and 1.5 percent.

Nike Inc rose 1.2 percent after an analysis of the company's online sales data by Thomson Reuters Proprietary Research revealed it had sold out of 61 percent more merchandise since the appearance the ad campaign featuring NFL player Colin Kaepernick.

Shares of Under Armour Inc rose 5.2 percent as the sportswear company announced it was cutting 3 percent of its workforce as part of its turnaround scheme.

Defense stocks, including Northrop Grumman Corp, Lockheed Martin Corp and Raytheon Co were down after the United States said it was ready to resume talks with North Korea after Pyongyang pledged to denuclearize by 2021.

General Electric Co slipped 2.9 percent after reporting a problem in its newest line of natural gas-fired turbines, prompting J.P. Morgan to lower its price target.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.17-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.77-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 41 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 53 new highs and 38 new lows. (Reporting by Stephen Culp Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)