Stocks close at record highs as S&P hits $20T in market cap


Stocks climbed to record highs Monday as investors remained bullish on President Donald Trump’s economic agenda.

“The market is going on the optimism of the Trump tax plan that will be announced soon,” said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth. “This is very good news for the market.”

The Dow rose 142 points, with Goldman Sachs contributing the most gains. The S&P 500 gained 0.52 percent, with financials rising more than 1 percent to lead advancers. The index also reached $20 trillion in market cap for the first time ever. It needed to break above 2,324.22 to reach the milestone, according to data from Howard Silverblatt, senior Index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

“The SPX extended its uptrend to a new all-time high last week, resolving another consolidation phase to the upside,” said Katie Stockton, chief technical strategist at BTIG, in a note. She added that “short-term overbought conditions are not likely to be a near-term hindrance, particularly given the widespread breakouts that have occurred.”

The Nasdaq composite advanced 0.52 percent as Apple shares approached their all-time intraday high.

“There is a bullish bias remaining in the market after Trump said there will be a phenomenal tax plan coming,” said Nick Raich, CEO of The Earnings Scout. “I think investors don’t want to be on the wrong side of that if the plan is as phenomenal as he says it is.”

Last week, Trump said his administration will be announcing a “phenomenal” tax plan over the next two or three weeks. Since then, equities have continued to grind higher into record territory.

“There is some momentum buying here on the resurgence of the Trump trade,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial, noting that stocks in Europe and Asia also traded higher on Monday.

Stocks had already rallied sharply since Trump’s election on hopes of not just corporate tax cuts, but also deregulation and government spending. But before last week’s break to new highs, U.S. equities had traded mostly sideways for more than a month as investors searched for clues about when these proposals would become reality.

There are no major economic data due Monday, but investors will be looking ahead to Federal Reserve Janet Yellen’s testimony on Capitol Hill, slated for Tuesday.

“The Fed’s statement on February 1 didn’t provide any additional clues on monetary policy direction, and as of last week, markets were only pricing in 13.3% chance for a rate hike in March and 23.7% in May,” Hussein Sayed, a chief market strategist at FXTM, said in a note. “It’s going to be interesting on which side will Yellen move the needle.”

On the earnings front, Restaurant Brands International, Teva Pharma and First Data were among the companies posting quarterly results before the bell. Arch Capital Group, Noble Energy, Vornado Realty and OneMain Holdings are all due to report after the market close.

U.S. Treasurys traded lower Monday, with the benchmark 10-year note yield rising to 2.431 percent and the short-term two-year note yield advancing to 1.19 percent. The dollar rose 0.17 against a basket of currencies, with the euro near $1.0604 and the yen around 113.61.

Overseas, European equities traded mostly higher, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 index advancing 0.75 percent. In Asia, stocks closed higher, with the Nikkei 225 rising 0.41 percent and the Shanghai composite gaining 0.63 percent.

Fred Imbert

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