By Yashaswini Swamynathan
A month-long rally on Wall Street, sparked by Donald Trump's election as U.S. president, roared ahead on Thursday, driving major Wall Street indexes to record highs. Investors are betting on shares of industrial and financial companies as they expect these sectors to benefit the most from Trump's promise to spend more on infrastructure and simplify regulations. The small cap Russell 2000 index also hit a record high. "The market is projecting a lot more confidence in future growth, and I don't expect any big pullback to derail the rally until the end of the year," said Chris Story, senior trader at Manulife Asset Management in Boston, Massachusetts. Adding to the bullish tone was a report that showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell from a five-month high last week, pointing to a robust labor market and building on a recent spate of strong economic data.The European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged but made a surprise decision to reduce its asset purchase plans to 60 billion euros ($64 billion) from the current 80 billion euros on Thursday. U.S. stock index futures fell slightly on the ECB's decision, but pared losses after the central bank's president, Mario Draghi, said he was not offering an outright winding-down of the program.
Investors, however, are likely to tread cautiously ahead of the Federal Reserve's meeting next week, where traders see a more than 90 chance of an interest rate hike. At 11:13 a.m. ET (1613 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial average was up 18.59 points, or 0.1 percent, at 19,568.21. It hit a record high of 19,592.95 - its 10th since the Nov.8 election. The S&P 500 was up 1.43 points, or 0.06 percent, at 2,242.78, slightly below its high of 2,244.03.
The Nasdaq Composite was up 21.84 points, or 0.4 percent, at 5,415.61, easing from a high of 5,416.54. Six of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, led by gains in technology due mostly to Apple, while the financial sector rose on gains in Bank of America, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo shares. Utilities, which have been among the worst performers in the rally, were the top losers, followed by a 0.24 percent decline in healthcare.Lululemon soared 16.2 percent to $69.58 after the yoga and leisure apparel retailer reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit.
Costco rose 4.2 percent to $160.22 after the warehouse club retailer reported a quarterly profit that beat analysts' expectations.Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,513 to 1,296. On the Nasdaq, 1,807 issues rose and 900 fell.The S&P 500 index showed 96 new 52-week highs and four new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 313 new highs and 15 new lows. ($1 = 0.9384 euros) (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)
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Updated Date: Dec 08, 2016 22:45:05 IST