Stocks edge up as dollar declines
U.S. stocks added to records and the dollar declined as developments from Catalonia to Puerto Rico and the Federal Reserve reverberated through financial markets Wednesday.
The S&P 500 Index edged higher to another all-time high as consumer stocks led the advance. Treasuries erased gains and the dollar pared losses on data showing America’s services industries rose at the fastest clip in 12 years. That offset earlier moves sparked by speculation the Trump administration is close to nominating a new Fed chair.
The U.S. president rattled the market for Puerto Rico’s debt after saying the obligations may need to be wiped clean, while turmoil in Catalonia sent debt on Europe’s periphery tumbling.
The dollar and Treasuries appeared to earlier take their cue from reports that Donald Trump is said to be close to picking a successor to Janet Yellen. Investors are assessing the policy implications based on a shortlist of possible candidates that include current Gov. Jerome Powell and ex-board member Kevin Warsh.
“The market generally is expecting higher interest rates, so I don’t think there will be a major shift if Warsh becomes chair,” Ernie Cecilia, the chief investment officer at Bryn Mawr Trust Co. in Pennsylvania, said by phone. “There would be a tilt, it’d be more hawkish, but not so much that it would be a major obstacle for the stock market, but it would be more so within the stock market from a sector basis.”
Speeches from Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May also vied for investor attention, while the continued political turmoil tied to Catalonia weighed on the region’s assets.
The S&P 500 Index rose 0.1 percent to 2,537.74. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 18 points to 22,661 for a sixth record close in a row.