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Business News/ Market / Stock-market-news/  Dow Jones crosses 21,000, dollar up on US Fed rate hike bets, Trump relief

Dow Jones crosses 21,000, dollar up on US Fed rate hike bets, Trump relief

Dow Jones trading past 21,000, dollar at six-week high indicates that investors are increasingly confident about economic growth

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose past 21,000 for the firs time on Wednesday. Photo: BloombergPremium
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose past 21,000 for the firs time on Wednesday. Photo: Bloomberg

New York: US Treasury yields rose along with the dollar and Wall Street rallied, lifting the Dow above 21,000, as investors bet on an interest rate hike and gave a sigh of relief after US President Donald Trump’s speech to Congress.

The three main US stock indexes were on track for their best one-day gain since 7 November, one day before the US presidential election, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq also hitting record highs.

Financial stocks were the biggest boost for Wall Street after New York Fed president William Dudley - one of the most influential US central bankers, and usually considered a dove - said late Tuesday that the case for tightening monetary policy had become “a lot more compelling", while San Francisco Fed president John Williams said he saw “no need to delay" raising rates.

“It’s not necessarily the rate increase that matters. It’s that they’re seeing things improving. If the Fed feels more confident, maybe we should too," said Warren West, principal at Greentree Brokerage Services in Philadelphia.

Bank stocks helped the Dow Jones Industrial Average top 21,000 for the first time since banks’ profits get a boost from higher interest rates.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 342.98 points, or 1.65%, to 21,155.22, the S&P 500 gained 35.32 points, or 1.49%, to 2,398.96 and the Nasdaq Composite added 79.34 points, or 1.36%, to 5,904.78.

In his speech Tuesday, Trump pledged to deliver “massive" tax relief to the middle class and corporate tax cuts, to spend heavily on infrastructure and to ease regulations.

While some investors had hoped for specifics on how the administration would pay for its promises, investors who had kept money off the table ahead of the speech were relieved by a more measured than expected tone from the US president.

“It’s a rally on sentiment. The sentiment is that he’s going to make big changes to tax and regulation and trade and he looked very presidential saying it. If one of those two things changes, the air is out of the rally," said Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners in Chicago.

US Treasury yields rose broadly with 2-year yields hitting their highest in more than seven years on increased expectations for a Fed rate hike in March.

Having priced in only around a 35% chance that the Fed would move this month before the Fed comments, investors are now pricing in around a 66.4% probability of a March hike, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

Yields on the 2-year Treasury note rose to a high of 1.308%, the highest point since August 2009. Benchmark 10-year notes fell 25/32 in price to yield 2.45%. It earlier rose to 2.471, the highest since 16 February.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of other major currencies, was up 0.5% and touched its highest level since 11 January.

The global MSCI ACWI index, rose about 1% and touched a record high.

In commodity markets, oil futures turned negative after US crude inventories rose to a record high. US crude fell 0.3% to $53.85 while Brent crude was off 0.3% at $56.34.

The stronger dollar weighed on gold, which dropped 0.14% to 1,246.62 an ounce, extending Tuesday’s drop.

Gains in mining and bank stocks took Britain’s blue-chip FTSE 100 index to an all-time high. It rose 1.6%, in line with the FTSEurofirst 300 index. Reuters

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Published: 01 Mar 2017, 08:52 PM IST
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