Markets hit new high as post-election rally roars ahead

December 8, 2016 09:25 AM

FInancial markets' post-election rally showed no signs of fatigue as the three major indexes hit all-time highs on Thursday. 

Donald Trump's election as U.S. president last month sparked euphoria on Wall Street, with investors chasing stocks that are likely to gain from his proposals to spend more on infrastructure and simplify industry regulation. 

"Investors are getting excited over the prospects of a new administration, a fresh mindset and a man who knows how to do business," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital in Bernardsville, New Jersey. 

"While there was also a technical aspect to the move yesterday ... the mindset right now is that any pullback is seen as bullish. It's an opportunity to buy into the market, not sell." 

The Dow industrials, the Dow Transport, the S&P 500 and the Russell 2000  indexes closed at record levels on Wednesday.

The European Central Bank unexpectedly reduced its asset purchase plans to 60 billion euros ($64 billion) from the current 80 billion euros on Thursday, but reserved the right to increase buying once again. 

Adding to the bullish tone was a report that showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell from a five-month high last week, pointing to a robust labor market and building on a recent spate of strong economic data.

At 9:42 a.m. ET the Dow Jones industrial average was up 39.58 points, or 0.2%, at 19,589.2. It hit a record high of 19,592.95 - its 10th since the Nov.8 election. 

The S&P 500 was up 2.13 points, or 0.1%, at 2,243.48, slightly below its high of 2,243.56. 

The Nasdaq Composite was up 8.60 points, or 0.16%, at 5,402.36, easing from a high of 5,403.88. 

Eight of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were lower, but the losses were offset by a 0.85% rise in financials <.SPSY> and gains in materials and energy. 

Bank of America, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo rose between 0.9% and 1.6%, boosting the S&P 500. 

Investors, however, are likely to tread cautiously ahead of the Federal Reserve's meeting next week, where traders see a more than 90 chance of an interest rate hike. 

Lululemon soared 17.3% to $70.20 following the yoga and leisure apparel retailer's reported of a better-than-expected quarterly profit.

Costco rose 2.5% to $157.86 in thin trading after the warehouse club retailer reported a quarterly profit that beat analysts' expectations.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,317 to 1,289. On the Nasdaq, 1,141 issues rose and 1,126 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 83 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 173 new highs and five new lows.

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