(Source: www.businesstimes.com.sg)

[NEW YORK] US stocks ended slightly higher on Monday and the Dow closed at a record high for a 12th straight session, as President Donald Trump said he would make a “big” infrastructure statement on Tuesday.

The Dow’s streak of record-high closes matches a 12-day run in 1987, with Boeing and UnitedHealth among the biggest boosts for the Dow on Monday. The S&P 500 also closed at a record high. Energy gave the biggest boost to the S&P 500, with the energy index up 0.9 per cent.

Mr Trump, who met with state governors at the White House, also said he is seeking what he called a “historic” increase in military spending of more than 9 per cent, while he said his administration would be “moving quickly” on regulatory reforms.

The comments came ahead of Mr Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday evening. Investors are looking for more specifics on Mr Trump’s plans, given the hefty gains in the market since the Nov 8 election.

“Things are moving along in terms of the Trump agenda, but we’ll get a clearer picture after tomorrow night so that might precipitate some buying or selling,” said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice-president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.

Mr Hellwig and others said there’s potentially more upside than downside from the address, given how the market has reacted in recent weeks.

Shares of US defence companies – Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin – rose after Mr Trump said he would seek to boost Pentagon spending by US$54 billion in his first budget proposal.

Boeing was up 1.1 per cent while UnitedHealth was up 1.4 per cent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 15.68 points, or 0.08 per cent, to close at 20,837.44, the S&P 500 gained 2.39 points, or 0.10 per cent, to 2,369.73 and the Nasdaq Composite added 16.59 points, or 0.28 per cent, to 5,861.90.

In its 1987 12-day streak of record-high closes, the Dow rose 9.2 per cent compared with just a 3.9 per cent gain in the recent record run.

While the S&P 500 is up 10.8 per cent since the Nov 8 election, the pace of the rally has slowed this year.

Mr Trump’s promise a few weeks ago of a “phenomenal” tax announcement helped rekindle the post-election rally, driving the main US markets to record highs.

Time Warner ended up 0.9 per cent after news that the head of the US Federal Communications Commission does not expect to review AT&T Inc’s planned US$85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner.

AT&T slipped 1.3 per cent.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.55-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.87-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 63 new 52-week highs and one new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 143 new highs and 45 new lows.

REUTERS

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