Nasdaq closes at a record for a seventh session row
US stocks closed at fresh highs on Wednesday with the broad market index recording the seventh winning session after President Trump said a “massive” tax plan would be coming in the “not-too-distant future”. The dollar pulled back: the live dollar index data show the ICE US Dollar index, a measure of the dollar’s strength against a basket of six rival currencies, closed down 0.16% at 101.058. The S&P 500 gained 0.5% settling at 2349.17 led by consumer staples stocks with seven of the S&P 500′s 11 primary sectors ending higher. The Dow Jones industrial rose 0.5% to close at 20611.17 led by Procter & Gamble. The Nasdaq index closed up 0.6% at record high of 5819.44, ending higher for seventh straight session.
Fresh economic data reinforced Fed chair Janet Yellen’s positive assessment of US economy outlook at her testimony in front of the Senate Banking Committee. Yellen commented that the recent stock market rally can be attributed to investor expectations of expansionary fiscal policies which can raise earnings. Data showed retail sales rose at higher than expected rate of 0.4% in January, and the Consumer Price Index rose 0.6% in the month, the largest amount in four years. And quarterly reports indicate companies in the S&P 500 are on track to post their second straight quarter of earnings growth. Today at 14:30 CET Initial Jobless Claims and Continuing Claims will be released in US. The tentative outlook is neutral for the dollar. At the same time January building permits and housing starts will come out, they are expected to rise compared with the previous month. 16:30 CET Natural Gas Storage Change will be released by the Energy Information Administration.
Bank shares lead gains in European stocks
European markets advanced on Wednesday with market sentiment buoyed by Fed chair Yellen’s upbeat assessment of US economy. The euro strengthened against the dollar while the British Pound slipped against the greenback. The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.3% to highest close since December 2015. Germany’s DAX 30 added 0.2% to 11793.93. France’s CAC 40 outperformed gaining 0.6% and UK’s FTSE 100 index rose 0.5% to 7302.41
Bank shares climbed on expectations of higher interest rates after Fed chair Yellen said rates could rise sooner rather than later at her Tuesday testimony. Shares of Credit Agricole rallied 4.8% after the French lender reported 7% rise in revenue, Deutsche Bank rose 2.5% and UBS gained 1.3%. In economic news, the UK unemployment rate stayed at 4.8% in the three months to December, its lowest level since 2005. However, the UK wage growth slowed to 2.6% from 2.7%. Today at 13:30 CET ECB monetary policy meeting accounts will be published.
Asian stocks up
Asian stock indexes are mostly up today with investor optimism boosted by Fed chair Yellen’s positive assessment of US economy outlook at her testimonies before US Senate and Congress committees. Nikkei fell 0.5% to 19347.53 today on stronger yen. The Shanghai Composite Index is up 0.5% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index is 0.4% higher. Australia’s All Ordinaries Index is up 0.07% after labor market data showed a surprise dip in Australia’s unemployment rate and the Australian dollar pared gains edgeing lower against the dollar.
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Oil prices steady following steep US stockpile build
Oil futures prices are steady today after official data showed US crude stockpiles rose by 9.5 million barrels last week to 518.1million barrels, an all-time high. Higher imports and a drop in crude refinery runs due to seasonal maintenance contributed to the inventory build. April Brent crude closed 0.4% lower at $55.75 a barrel on Wednesday on London’s ICE Futures exchange after EIA reported a sixth straight weekly rise in US crude inventories.
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