Wall Street hits new high as post-election rally roars ahead

A sign for Wall Street in New York on Oct 15, 2009.
A sign for Wall Street in New York on Oct 15, 2009.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Wall Street's post-election rally showed no signs of fatigue as the three major indexes hit all-time highs on Thursday.

Donald Trump's election as US president last month sparked euphoria on Wall Street, with investors chasing stocks that are likely to gain from his proposals to spend more on infrastructure and simplify industry regulation.

"Investors are getting excited over the prospects of a new administration, a fresh mindset and a man who knows how to do business," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital in Bernardsville, New Jersey. "While there was also a technical aspect to the move yesterday ... the mindset right now is that any pullback is seen as bullish. It's an opportunity to buy into the market, not sell."

The Dow industrials, the Dow Transport, the S&P 500 and the Russell 2000 indexes closed at record levels on Wednesday.

The European Central Bank unexpectedly reduced its asset purchase plans to 60 billion euros (S$90.8 billion) from the current 80 billion euros on Thursday, but reserved the right to increase buying once again.

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.

At 9:42 a.m. ET (10:42 p.m Singapore time) the Dow Jones industrial average was up 39.58 points, or 0.2 per cent, at 19,589.2. It hit a record high of 19,592.95 - its 10th since the Nov.8 election. The S&P 500 was up 2.13 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 2,243.48, slightly below its high of 2,243.56. The Nasdaq Composite was up 8.60 points, or 0.16 per cent, at 5,402.36, easing from a high of 5,403.88.

Eight of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were lower, but the losses were offset by a 0.85 per cent rise in financials and gains in materials and energy.

Bank of America, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo rose between 0.9 per cent and 1.6 per cent, boosting the S&P 500.

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.

The S&P 500 index showed 83 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 173 new highs and five new lows.