Donald Trump takes stocks to record highs

The social network's quarterly revenue grew at its slowest rate since the company went public. VIDEO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - US stocks pushed to fresh record highs on Thursday (Feb 9) after US President Donald Trump promised details soon about his tax cut proposals.

The blue-chip Dow and the broader S&P 500 both touched fresh record highs following the comments.

"Stocks got an upward lift from reported comments from US President Trump in the afternoon session that he would have something phenomenal on tax in the next two to three weeks," said market analyst Michael Hewson at CMC Markets.

Equities in the United States have been on bull run since Trump's election in November on hopes his pledges to boost infrastructure spending and cut taxes will boost the world's largest economy, although details have so far remained scarce.

Stocks elsewhere have also got a boost as investors hope faster growth in the United States would perk up the global economy.

European stocks closed higher Thursday, although growing concerns over Greece and looming elections in France and Germany gnawed at sentiment.

One of the top gainers in Paris was French bank Societe Generale, whose shares won almost three per cent after posting better-than-expected net profits for 2016.

Profits after tax nevertheless still slid 3.2 per cent to 3.87 billion euros (S$58.5 billion), hit by accounting expenses and losses arising from the sale of its Croatian subsidiary, SocGen said in a statement.

World markets had wavered Wednesday as increasing uncertainty about France's political outlook and fears of another debt crisis brewing in Greece sent yields on European government debt higher.

Greek crisis worries were ignited this week after the International Monetary Fund warned the country would likely not reach targets prescribed for it to qualify for bailout cash.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble reaffirmed his staunch opposition to cutting Greece's debt, even as the International Monetary Fund has pressed Athens' creditors for such a move.

"For that, Greece would have to leave the monetary union," he said on German television.

Yields on Greek government 10-year bonds, which fell under 6.5 per cent in November, are closing back in on 8.0 per cent in secondary market trading.

For comparison, the yields on similar maturity German government debt is 0.31 per cent.

Shares in Twitter took a 10 per cent dive after the social network reported sluggish revenue and user growth, while its net loss in the fourth quarter of 2016 ballooned to US$167 million, from US$90 million in the same period in 2015.

Some analysts had expected a bump in Twitter use following the election of US President Donald Trump, who is an avid user of the platform and frequently offers his views on policy.

Twitter, which has never reported a profit, has been revamping its offerings as it seeks to expand beyond its core base of politicians, celebrities and journalists.

"The problem for Twitter is that non-users are unlikely to take up the service to view Trump's tweets in real time when they can get the full summary on other news sites," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading firm IG.