U.S. stocks hit record highs on Friday as investors cheered President Donald Trump’s vow to unveil a major tax reform plan in the coming weeks. Trump’s promise of a “phenomenal” tax plan helped reignite a post-election rally, which had stalled in recent weeks on concerns over his administrative priorities and the lack of clarity on policy reforms. “The market is saying, ‘Thank you for coming back to the very core of the reasons we have accepted your agenda’,” said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey. The dollar index was up 0.3 percent to a three-week high of 101.01. Gold was down 0.3 percent.
Oil prices rose 2 percent after reports that OPEC members delivered more than 90 percent of the output cuts they pledged in a landmark deal that took effect in January. The S&P 500 energy index was up 0.85 percent and gave the broader index its biggest boost. Industrial stocks, which have been among the top gainers in the post-election rally, also rose 0.6 percent. At 11:06 a.m. ET (1606 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 72.35 points, or 0.36 percent, at 20,244.75, the S&P 500 was up 5.19 points, or 0.22 percent, at 2,313.06 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 12.03 points, or 0.21 percent, at 5,727.21.
Ten of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher. Consumer staples was the outlier, largely due to a 1.6 percent fall in Wal-Mart shares. The ongoing corporate earnings season helped buoy sentiment. Activision Blizzard surged 17 percent and gave the biggest boost to the S&P 500. The videogame maker reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue and a $1 billion share buyback program. Skechers USA was up 22 percent after its fourth-quarter revenue beat expectations. Sears Holding jumped 31 percent to $7.27 after the struggling retailer said it would cut debt and pension obligations by at least $1.5 billion this year.
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Mead Johnson was up 4.7 percent after Reckitt Benckiser finalised a $16.6 billion deal to buy the infant formula maker. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,895 to 891. On the Nasdaq, 1,629 issues rose and 1,011 fell. The S&P 500 index showed 39 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 106 new highs and 14 new lows.