Manila Bulletin

Up­beat Yellen lifts US stocks to an­other record

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NEW YORK (AFP) – US stocks smashed records again Tues­day and the dol­lar ad­vanced af­ter Federal Re­serve Chair Janet Yellen sig­nalled higher in­ter­est rates are on the way.

Com­ments from the US cen­tral bank chief spurred US bank­ing shares, help­ing all three ma­jor US stock in­dices to close at records for the fourth straight day.

That came on a muted ses­sion for Euro­pean stocks, while Ja­pan’s Nikkei re­treated.

US stocks have been on a tear since Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump last week said he planned to un­veil a tax-cut plan within the next two to three weeks.

The Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 in­dex rose 0.4 per­cent to 2,337.58 for its sixth straight day of gains. The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age rose 0.5 per­cent to 20,504.41. The Nas­daq com­pos­ite rose 0.3 per­cent to 5,782.57.

That streak seemed to be at risk early in the ses­sion ahead of Yellen’s tes­ti­mony.

Yellen pre­sented an up­beat view of the econ­omy in her tes­ti­mony to Congress, not­ing la­bor mar­ket con­di­tions con­tinue to im­prove and in­fla­tion is inch­ing up to the Fed’s two per­cent tar­get.

She con­firmed the next rate in­crease could come at any time, which leaves open the pos­si­bil­ity of a move at the March 14-5 pol­icy meet­ing.

“Af­ter sort of hes­i­tat­ing dur­ing Janet Yellen’s re­marks, in­vestors have de­cided that the sit­u­a­tion is not too se­ri­ous and have taken us to record highs again,’’ said Karl Hael­ing of Lan­des­bank Baden-Wuert­tem­berg.

BK As­set Man­age­ment man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Kathy Lien said, “The tone of her semi-an­nual tes­ti­mony was un­am­bigu­ously pos­i­tive and for that rea­son the US dol­lar, US stocks, and US rates moved sharply higher.’’

Peu­geot SA shares rose 4.1 per­cent in Paris af­ter the com­pany said it was ex­plor­ing a pos­si­ble takeover of Gen­eral Mo­tors’ loss­mak­ing Euro­pean as­sets Opel and Vaux­hall. GM, which con­firmed the talks, jumped 4.8 per­cent.

Ja­pan’s Toshiba slumped eight per­cent af­ter it de­layed re­leas­ing fi­nan­cial re­sults ex­pected to in­clude bil­lions of dol­lars in losses from its ail­ing US nu­clear power unit.

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