US STOCKS – Wall St at record high as banks gain on Yellen’s comments

–    Yellen discusses rates to rise in an upcoming meeting

–    Dollar, Treasury yields, bank stocks gain

–    Bind proxy sectors, utilities and real estate, drop

–    Apple hits all-time high; top stock on S&P, NASDAQ

–    Indexes up: Dow 0.29 pct, S&P 0.23 pct, NASDAQ 0.21 pct

Wall Street took action to squeeze out small gains on Tuesday, directed by bank stocks after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen stated it would be a poor decision to prolong the increase in interest rates.  Apple increased by about 1% to an all-time high of $134.59, assisting the three major indexes to reach record highs for the fourth consecutive day.

Yellen discussed that delaying rate hikes may influence the central bank to increase rates faster down the line, which could cause a recession. She also explained hesitation over economic policy under the Trump administration.  Trump’s pro-business stance generated a record high rally in stocks. However, he has given scarce details on his policies, giving the Fed limited reflectiveness on the focus of the economy.

Yellen did not state if the Fed is still planning to increase rates for a third time this year, nor did she imply whether or not a possibility of a hike would occur in March or in June, as most analysts anticipate.  At 13:08 AM ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 59.34 points, or 0.29 percent, at 20,471.5.  The S&P 500 was up 5.53 points, (0.23%), at 2,333.78 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 12.19 points, (0.21%), at 5,776.14.

Yellen’s statements lifted the dollar and U.S. Treasury yields. The S&P financial sector, which has directed the “Trump rally”, was up 0.83 percent.  Bank stocks were the top gainers on the S&P. Goldman Sachs increase of 1.2% helped the Dow hit a record intraday high. The KBW banking index increased 1.3%.  8 of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, led by the utilities and real estate sectors, which tend to fall when treasury yields rise.

General Motors was the top gainer on the S&P, rising 4.6 percent after Peugeot-owner PSA Group spoke about buying GM’s European Opel business.  The prospects of sector consolidation caused Fiat to jump 4.3 percent, while Ford gained 0.6 percent.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,625 to 1,254. On the Nasdaq, 1,450 issues rose and 1,340 fell.  The S&P 500 index displayed 53 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 106 new highs and 16 new lows.

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