The Dow hurdled past 21,000 on Wednesday, as investors appeared to be encouraged by remarks from President Donald Trump and the Fed.
The blue-chip index added 300 points, or 1.4%, and closed at 21,115 points. This new record comes about one month after the Dow hit 20,000 for the first time. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq both gained about 1.3%.
Stocks were climbing after President Donald Trump addressed a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night, striking a conciliatory tone and reiterating a commitment to various pro-growth items he intends to pursue. For instance, he continued to emphasize the need for tax reform, an infrastructure program and higher defense spending.
Investors have been giddy about the promise of higher fiscal spending and deregulation under the Trump Administration and stock markets have continued to hit fresh highs. This has not escaped Trump, who noted that the stock market “has gained almost three trillion dollars in value since the election on November 8th.”
Yet, investors are increasingly anxious for an action plan, and Trump was short on details in his speech. “We need to see these things done, dusted and delivered,” says Colleen O’Callaghan, managing director of wealth management at Morgan Stanley.
Bank stocks were also soaring on Wednesday after two Federal Reserve officials hinted that a rate hike could be in the offing. San Francisco Fed President John Williams said on Tuesday that a rate hike in March was “very much on the table for serious consideration.” New York Fed President William Dudley also said the case for hiking rates “has become a lot more compelling.”
“The market has flipped from being skeptical that a move in March was likely, to now thinking it is more likely than not,” said Luke Bartholomew, an investment manager at Aberdeen Asset Management. The market is now pricing in a two thirds chance that the Fed will hike rates at its March 14-15 meeting, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool. That’s up from a third chance just a day earlier.
Banks stand to benefit from rising rates and JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley each added about 3% on Wednesday, while Bank of America jumped 4%. The SPDR S&P Bank ETF has gained 27% since the election.
The dollar also rose on the Fed’s remarks, with the AMEX Dollar Index, which measures the greenback against a basket of other major currencies, jumping about 0.5%. Investors sold off so-called safe haven assets, including gold and government bonds, and sent the yield on the 10-year Treasury from 2.35% to 2.46%.