The US markets closed higher on Thursday, with all the major indexes notching the latest in a series of record closes, with energy and financial stocks leading the way. The stocks climbed after Trump referenced a phenomenal announcement about his tax plan coming in the next few weeks. Trump said that we’re going to announce something I would say over the next two or three weeks that will be phenomenal in terms of tax. The last time all three major indexes simultaneously closed at records was January 25. St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard said that US interest rates can likely remain low through at least 2017, with no clear sense yet of whether the Trump administration’s policies will spark higher inflation or growth. Bullard said he feels that the Fed will only need to raise interest rates once this year, and indicated a move probably will not happen when the central banks meets in March. There will not be enough information about the new administration’s possible spending and tax plans at that point. Bullard added that inflation expectations remain low despite administration talk of large tax cuts and infrastructure spending, actions that could stoke inflation in an economy considered near full employment.
On the economy front, the number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits in early February fell by 12,000 to 234,000, hitting the second-lowest level of an economic recovery that began nearly eight years ago. New jobless claims have registered less than 300,000 for 101 straight weeks, the longest streak in more than four decades. The record low for new claims during the current expansion was 233,000 in early November. Similarly, the less volatile four-week average of initial claims dropped by 3,750 and stood at 244,250, touching the lowest level in 44 years. That reflects a tight labor market in which layoffs are extremely low and companies face greater difficulty in finding workers. Continuing jobless claims rose by 15,000 to 2.08 million in the week ended January 28.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 118.06 points or 0.59 percent to 20,172.40, the Nasdaq was up 32.73 points or 0.58 percent to 5,715.18, while S&P 500 gained 13.2 points or 0.58 percent to 2,307.87.
The Indian ADRs closed mostly in green; Infosys was up 0.46%, Wipro was up 0.21% and Dr. Reddy’s Lab was up 0.16%. On the other hand, HDFC Bank was down 0.46% and Tata Motors was down 0.09%.