Global stocks hit record highs on job, tax-cut hopes, oil gains

Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:22pm EST
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stock prices climbed to record highs worldwide for a third straight session on Thursday, propelled by an oil rally after a surprise drop in U.S. crude inventories and comments from U.S. President Donald Trump and his Treasury chief on plans for job creation and tax reform.

The dollar was bogged down a day after minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting showed the U.S. central bank was in no rush to raise interest rates.

Treasury and euro zone government bond yields declined as European Central Bank policymakers also signaled they were not getting carried away by signs the euro zone economy is gathering strength.

This outlook for policy accommodation lifted gold prices to a three-month high near $1,250 an ounce.

Equity markets around the world have advanced this year as traders bet on tax cuts, less regulation and more infrastructure spending from Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress to bolster the U.S. economy.

Details on these stimulus programs have been sparse, raising doubts whether bigger corporate profits will materialize.

On Thursday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke of wanting to see "very significant" tax reform passed before Congress' August recess and said the Trump administration was looking closely at border tax issues.

"That's starting to put some details on tax reform. That's reigniting some of the animal spirits," said Bill Northey, chief investment officer for the private client group at U.S. Bank in Helena, Montana.   Continued...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., February 22, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid