Stocks, dollar up on U.S. rate hike bets, Trump relief

Wed Mar 1, 2017 4:31pm EST
 
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By Sinead Carew

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury yields rose along with the U.S. dollar and Wall Street rallied, lifting the Dow above 21,000, as investors increased bets on an imminent interest rate hike and gave a sigh of relief after President Donald Trump's speech to Congress.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq had their best one-day gain since Nov. 7, one day before Trump's election, and they also closed at record highs along with the Dow. The global MSCI ACWI index, rose 0.9 percent and also hit a record.

Financial stocks were the biggest boost for Wall Street after hawkish comments from two prominent Federal Reserve Officials as higher rates help bank profits.

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 the President's more measured than expected tone.

"People were concerned Trump was maybe running off the rails. After the speech last night everybody walked away with a good feeling," said Stephen Massocca, Senior Vice President at Wedbush Securities in San Francisco. "Some of the things he said, the algebra doesn't work but people know the direction it's going to go."

But the rally may be short. If Congress puts up roadblocks to Trump's plans or if he starts sounding less presidential, "the air is out of the rally," said Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners in Chicago.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 303.31 points, or 1.46 percent, at 21,115.55, the S&P 500 rose 32.32 points, or 1.37 percent, to 2,395.96 and the Nasdaq Composite added 78.59 points, or 1.35 percent, to 5,904.03.   Continued...

 
Traders works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 1, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid