* Financial stocks up; rate-sensitive sectors fall
* S&P set for longest winning streak in 3-1/2 years
* Indexes up: Dow 0.53 pct, S&P 500 0.54 pct, Nasdaq 0.64
(Adds detail on economic data and earnings growth,
By Noel Randewich
Feb 15 Wall Street pushed further into
record-high territory on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 on track
for a seven-session winning streak, helped by a round of robust
economic data and ongoing optimism that President Donald Trump
will cut corporate taxes.
Bigger-than-expected rises in retail sales and consumer
prices in January reinforced confidence that the economy is
growing at a solid pace following a strong fourth-quarter
corporate earnings season.
In a meeting with top executives from U.S. retail companies,
Trump said he would lower taxes substantially and simplify the
tax code, echoing a vow he made last week and on the campaign
Optimism that lower taxes and corporate deregulation will
expand the economy pushed the three major indexes to all-time
highs. The S&P 500 was on track for its fifth straight record
close, even as some investors worried that Trump so far has
provided no substantial details of his tax plan.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, in testimony before the
House Financial Services Committee, stood by the stance she took
on Tuesday that the U.S. central bank was on track to raise
interest rates at an upcoming policy meeting.
"A year ago, if Janet Yellen had come out with the statement
she made, the market would have freaked out, because the
fundamentals were very soft," said Brad McMillan, chief
investment officer at Commonwealth Financial Network. "Now, if
the Fed raises rates, it's not going to shake the world, because
people are confident enough about the fundamentals."
The healthcare index was the to gainer, up 1.24
Financial stocks, which benefit from higher rates,
rose 0.85 percent. The utilities and real estate
sectors, both of which do worse in high-rate
environments, fell 0.45 percent and 0.16 percent respectively.
At 3:26 pm ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was
up 0.53 percent at 20,613.5 points, while the S&P 500 had
gained 0.54 percent to 2,350.27.
The Nasdaq Composite added 0.64 percent to
Procter & Gamble jumped 3.7 percent to a two-year
high of $91.10, giving the biggest boost to the Dow and the S&P,
after Trian Fund disclosed a stake, which could pressure the
company to slice costs and slow-growing divisions.
Shares of Southwest, United Continental,
American Airlines and Delta rose between 2
percent and 4 percent after Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway
reported investments topping $2.1 billion in each of
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a
1.48-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.80-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 79 new 52-week highs and 2 new lows; the
Nasdaq Composite recorded 146 new highs and 24 new lows.
(Additional reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru;
Editing by James Dalgleish and Nick Zieminski)