Wednesday, 25 January 2017

S&P 500, Nasdaq Set Records As Tech, Banks Lead

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The S&P 500 and Nasdaq set record highs on Tuesday in a broad rally led by financial and technology stocks. The advance comes as quarterly earnings season heats up and investors become optimistic that clarity on President Donald Trump's economic policies will be forthcoming.

Trump signed two executive orders on Tuesday to move forward with construction of the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, rolling back key Obama administration environmental actions in favor of expanding energy infrastructure. He also met with chief executives of the Big Three US automakers to push for more cars to be built in the United States.

"He is coming out of the gate strong and he is doing a lot of the things he said he would," said Joe Saluzzi, co-manager of trading at Themis Trading in Chatham, New Jersey. "On top of that, earnings aren't a disaster so far, so why not - you’ve been stuck in a range and why not lift off to the next level?"

Profits of S&P 500 companies are estimated to have risen 6.7 percent in the latest quarter, marking the strongest growth in two years, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Despite stalling in recent weeks, the post-election rally has contributed to somewhat lofty valuations. The S&P 500 is trading at about 17 times forward 12-month earnings, according to Thomson Reuters Datastream, compared with the 10-year median of 14.2.

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