(Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Dow indexes rose in morning trading on Wednesday as bank stocks added to gains following strong economic data and encouraging comments from Federal Reserve officials that sealed the case for a December rate increase. Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., November 20, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermidJPMorgan climbed 1.9 percent and Bank of America rose 2.2 percent, making the S&P financial index the biggest gainer among S&P 500 sectors. Fed chair nominee Jerome Powell said on Tuesday the case for a December rate hike was coming together and also hinted at lighter bank regulation, while Fed chair Janet Yellen said on Wednesday that a strengthening economy will warrant continued rate increases. “Economic data has been very strong and the economy looks as good now as it ever has,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas. The second revision of third-quarter gross domestic product showed growth increased at a 3.3 annual rate, up from the previously reported 3 percent. The Fed’s preferred gauge of inflation, the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index excluding food and energy, rose 1.4 percent in the third quarter, in line with the forecast by economists polled by Reuters. Investors are keeping a keen eye on progress on U.S. tax bill. Senate Republicans on Tuesday rammed forward the bill, which corporate America is hoping will slash business tax rates, in an abrupt, partisan committee vote that set up a full vote by the Senate as soon as Thursday. Some details remained unsettled and Democrats were left furious about a lack of discussion on a bill that could add an estimated $1.4 trillion to the $20 trillion national debt over 10 years. At 9:36 a.m. ET (1436 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 70.47 points, or 0.3 percent, at 23,907.18, the S&P 500 was up 1.66 points, or 0.06 percent, at 2,628.7 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 13.92 points, or 0.2 percent, at 6,898.44. Chipotle Mexican Grill gained 5.4 percent after the burrito chain announced its co-founder Steve Ells would step down as chief executive. Allergan rose 3.7 percent after Morgan Stanley upgraded the company’s stock to “overweight”. Autodesk was the biggest loser on S&P 500, slumping nearly 14 percent after the AutoCAD maker’s revenue forecast fell below estimates and said it expected $100 million in restructuring charges at the most, next year. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,397 to 1,142. On the Nasdaq, 1,359 issues rose and 1,021 fell.
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Updated Date: Nov 29, 2017 22:15:42 IST