February 15, 2017 / 6:06 PM / 5 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St rally chugs along on Trump's tax talk, strong data

4 Min Read

* March rate hike odds jump to 26.6 pct from 13.3 pct

* Financial stocks up; rate sensitive sectors fall

* S&P set for longest winning streak in 3-1/2 years

* Indexes up: Dow 0.36 pct, S&P 0.18 pct, Nasdaq 0.25 pct (Updates to early afternoon)

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

Feb 15 (Reuters) - Wall Street rose on Wednesday, with the S&P on course for a 7-day winning streak for the first time since September 2013, after President Donald Trump repeated his promise of tax cuts and upbeat economic data increased the odds of a rate hike.

Trump, in a meeting with top executives at U.S. retail companies, said he would lower taxes substantially and simplify the tax code - echoing a vow he made last Thursday that renewed optimism about the economy and revived the "Trump trade".

The rally has caused the market's record-setting run to enter its fifth day, despite Trump again providing little details on his plans.

Also boosting sentiment was robust economic data - including bigger-than-expected gains in retail sales and consumer prices in January - that reinforced the strength of the economy.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, in a testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, stood by the stance she took on Tuesday that the central bank was on track to raise interest rates at an upcoming policy meeting.

"She (Yellen) has made it clear that she wants to raise rates," said Neil Massa, senior equity trader at Manulife Asset Management in Boston.

"Before she spoke yesterday, the March meeting wasn't in play, but now that is definitely on the table and I think the numbers today bode well for her to do that."

After the economic data, traders raised the odds of a rate hike in March to 26.6 percent from 13.3 percent before the data was released, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Financial stocks, which benefit in a higher rate environment, again led the gainers among the 11 major S&P sectors, with a 0.63 percent gain. The rate-sensitive utilities and real estate sectors fell the most.

At 12:31 p.m. ET (1731 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 72.81 points, or 0.36 percent, at 20,577.22.

The S&P 500 was up 4.3 points, or 0.18 percent, at percent, at 2,341.88. The Nasdaq Composite was up 14.71 points, or 0.25 percent, at 5,797.28.

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 3.7 percent after Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway reported investments topping $2.1 billion in each of the carriers.

AIG weighed the most on the S&P, dropping 8.6 percent after the commercial insurer reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,505 to 1,341. On the Nasdaq, 1,404 issues rose and 1,353 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 63 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 119 new highs and 18 new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)

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