The Dow Jones industrial average roared past 26,000 Tuesday morning — only to give it all back by the end of the day and close down 10 points.
“It got to a point where people were saying, ‘Wow,’ ” said Steve Johnson, a portfolio manager at Adviser Investments. “It’s momentum. You had everyone on TV saying we were up 1,000 points in seven trading sessions. People took profits on the short term, and that took some members of the Dow down.”
The Dow was up 283 points before that was erased by a retreat in oil prices and talk of a government shutdown. Oil supermajors ExxonMobil and Chevron both dropped.
Oil prices have risen well into the $60-a-barrel range and are threatening to go higher. But Brent crude, a key industry price metric, dropped more than 1 percent as U.S. shale oil production was reported to be reaching records. U.S. domestic production is about to return to 10 million-plus barrels a day, a mark not reached since the 1970s and one that was thought to be a pipe dream a few years ago.
Dow star Boeing was leading the way for a while Tuesday, hitting highs of $348 before it settled back to $335, putting it in negative territory with some of the other transportation stocks.
Consumer staples, which have struggled, picked up some slack with Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble both gaining. General Mills and Kimberly Clark also were up.
“It is kind of interesting that consumer staples, which had not done well, are now leading the market,” Johnson said. “That shows people becoming a little more defensive.”
The Dow had started strong after some premarket estimates predicted an opening gain of 245 points. And the index of 30 major U.S. companies did not disappoint as it crossed 26,000 out of the gate — the quickest 1,000-point gain in its history.
The Dow crossed 25,000 on Jan. 4, the third trading session of this year. It was up more than 5 percent for 2018 during the height of its surge Tuesday.
Billionaire investor Sam Zell said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Tuesday morning, “I think the current situation seems like irrational exuberance.” Zell was echoing a proclamation by then-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan in 1996, when the market was frothy.
Zell, known for his real estate success, said much of his assets are in cash.
Even after Tuesday’s afternoon retreat, the Dow is up 4.34 percent this year. That comes on the heels of the Dow’s 25 percent increase in 2017.
Despite Tuesday’s down day, markets are off to a prosperous 2018. The Nasdaq, S&P 500 and small-cap Russell 2000 were also in the red at the end of Tuesday, but for the year the tech-heavy Nasdaq is up 4.64 percent, the S&P is up 3.85 percent and the Russell 2000 has gained 2.44 percent.
Jeff Carbone, managing partner at Cornerstone Wealth, saw Tuesday’s downdraft as temporary.
“With earnings, tax reform, economic data and a Federal Reserve cautiously tightening, we saw the wind die down a bit in the markets,” Carbone said in a email after markets closed. “I do not believe [the market] will be blown off course for long as we go deeper into earnings season.”