Sunday, February 26, 2017
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Market Digest Online WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2017: U.S. equities kicked off the week on the right foot, closing at record highs Tuesday following a key naming by the Trump administration and corporate earnings. The Dow Jones industrial average rose more than 100 points, with Boeing and UnitedHealth contributing the most gains. The S&P 500 gained 0.6 percent, with real estate leading all sectors higher.

"The fundamental backdrop continues to support us while we wait for tax reform and deregulation," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities. "Investors have been patient, but at some point that patience will run out; just not today."

The Nasdaq composite advanced 0.47 percent. The Russell 2000, which is made up of small-cap stocks, also reached new records.

Stocks — which also managed record levels last week — have been on a rip-roaring rally since the U.S. election, as investors have piled on to bets that the new administration will be able to enact significant corporate tax cuts and deregulation. The three large-cap indexes and the Russell have gained more than 10 percent since the election.

Following equities higher has been the U.S. dollar, which traded about half a percent higher against a basket of currencies, as market expectations for tighter monetary policy have increased.

In economic news, the flash read on the IHS Markit U.S. purchasing managers' index hit 54.3 for February, falling slightly from January's 14-month peak. The "latest survey data indicated that business optimism moderated among U.S. private sector firms in February, driven by weaker confidence across the service economy," IHS said.

About three stocks advanced for every decliner at the New York Stock Exchange, with an exchange volume of 877.13 million and a composite volume of 3.535 billion at the close. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, traded near 11.5. U.S. crude oil for March delivery rose 1.2 percent to $54.06 per barrel. Gold futures for April delivery fell 20 cents to $1,238.90 per ounce.

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