The major stock indices set new record highs again on Wednesday for a fifth consecutive day as Wall Street applauds President Donald Trump's commitment to tax cuts, and economic data that highlights the strength of the U.S. economy.
Speaking to reporters prior to his meeting with retail CEOs Wednesday, Trump said he would unveil a "massive tax plan" in the "not too distant future" that would lower taxes for both individuals and businesses.
Of the eleven Standard & Poor 500 sectors, eight were on the plus side, led by the retail and banking sector. Sectors that are adversely impacted from higher interest rates were trading lower.
A flood of economic data underscored the strength of the U.S. economy as price pressures continued to inch higher. Consumer prices rose 0.6% in January, twice the increase Wall Street was expecting. Excluding the volatile food and fuel segment, the CPI was up a better-than-expected 0.3%.
Retail sales were up 0.4% last month versus the estimated +0.1%. Excluding autos, sales were up 0.8%, and up 0.7% excluding autos and gas sales, both beating expectations.
The Empire State manufacturing index raced up to 18.7 in February from 6.5 the month prior, well above estimates for a gain to 7.5, and business inventories increased 0.4% while sales were up 0.2%, the largest monthly gain in six years.
Not all of today's data was bullish, however, including a decline in industrial production and capacity utilization, and a decrease in the National Association of Home Builders housing market index to 65 in February from 67 the month prior, missing projections for an improvement to 68.
The economic data eclipsed the second part of Fed Chair Janet Yellen's semi-annual testimony to Congress. Speaking to the House Financial Services Committee, Yellen echoed her remarks to the Senate on Tuesday that the economy is on track for additional, albeit gradual, rate hikes in 2017.
European bourses closed higher as gains in the banking sector drove the Euro Stoxx 600 index to its highest level in 15 months.
Crude oil was down $0.14 to $53.06 per barrel. Natural gas was up $0.06 to $3.07 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $7.30 to $1,232.70 an ounce, while silver was up $0.08 to $17.97 an ounce. Copper was up $0.01 to $2.76 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 0.23% to $11.35 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 1.16% to $7.43. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was unchanged at 24.92 while SPDR Gold Shares were up 0.36% to $117.34. The iShares Silver Trust was up 0.15% to $17.04.
Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index was up 12.73 points (+0.11%) to 11,481.60
Dow Jones Industrial Index was up 65.44 points (+0.32%) to 20,569.85
S&P 500 was up 4.40 points (+0.19%) to 2,341.98
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 13.24 points (+0.23%) to 5,795.81
FTSE 100 was up 33.85 points (+0.47%) to 7,302.41
DAX was up 22.12 points (+0.19%) to 11,793.93
CAC 40 was up 29.04 points (+0.59%) to 4,924.86
Nikkei 225 was up 199.00 points (+1.03%) to 19,437.98
Hang Seng Index was up 291.86 points (+1.23%) to 23,994.87
Shanghai China Composite Index was down 4.94 points (-0.15%) to 3,212.89
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index was down 81.07 points (-0.72%) to 11,149.89
NYSE Financial Sector Index was up 23.19 points (-0.32%) to 7,330.76
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index was up 26.23 points (+0.21%) to 12,484.60
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