By Yashaswini Swamynathan
U.S. stocks hit record highs for the second day on Friday as investors remained upbeat about a tax reform plan that President Donald Trump vowed to unveil in the coming weeks. Trump's promise of a "phenomenal" tax plan helped reignite a post-election rally, which had stalled in recent weeks on concerns over his protectionist stand and the lack of clarity on policy reforms."The market is saying, 'Thank you for coming back to the very core of the reasons we have accepted your agenda'," said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey.Oil prices rose more than 2 percent after reports that OPEC members delivered more than 90 percent of the output cuts they pledged in a landmark deal that took effect in January. The S&P 500 energy index was up 0.98 percent and gave the broader index its biggest boost. [O/R]Industrial stocks, which have been among the top gainers in the post-election rally, also rose 0.64 percent.
At 12:14 p.m. ET (1714 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 79.94 points, or 0.4 percent, at 20,252.34, easing from its all-time high of 20,262.68.The S&P 500 was up 7.05 points, or 0.30 percent, at 2,314.92, after hitting a record 2,315.16The Nasdaq Composite was up 17.48 points, or 0.31 percent, at 5,732.66, slightly below its high of 5,733.21.All of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, with financials and consumer staples bringing up the rear.
The ongoing corporate earnings season added to the upbeat mood.Activision Blizzard surged 17.3 percent and gave the biggest boost to the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq. The videogame maker reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue and a $1 billion share buyback program. Skechers USA was up 20.4 percent after its fourth-quarter revenue beat expectations.
Sears Holding jumped nearly 31 percent to $7.24 after the struggling retailer said it would cut debt and pension obligations by at least $1.5 billion this year.Mead Johnson was up 5.1 percent after Reckitt Benckiser finalised a $16.6 billion deal to buy the infant formula maker. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,961 to 883. On the Nasdaq, 1,701 issues rose and 1,015 fell.The S&P 500 index showed 43 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 119 new highs and 16 new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)
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Updated Date: Feb 11, 2017 00:15 AM