* Bank stocks boost S&P, Goldman top stock on Dow
* Lowe's biggest S&P gainer after upbeat forecast
* Dollar set for best day since Dec. 15
* Indexes up: Dow 0.95 pct, S&P 0.80 pct, Nasdaq 0.81 pct
(Updates to open)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
March 1 U.S. stocks hit record intraday highs on
Wednesday, with the Dow breaching the 21,000 mark for the first
time ever, as bank stocks surged on higher chances of an
interest rate hike this month, while a more measured tone in
President Donald Trump's speech reassured investors.
In his first address to a joint session of Congress late
Tuesday, Trump said he wanted to boost the U.S. economy with a
"massive" tax relief, make a $1 trillion effort on
infrastructure and overhaul Obamacare.
His comments, though lacking in detail, helped underscore
his pro-growth stance that has pushed Wall Street to record
highs in a post-election rally.
However, the markets were more focused on comments on
Tuesday from a handful of Federal Reserve officials, including
the influential New York Fed President William Dudley, who said
the case for tightening monetary policy had become "a lot more
The S&P 500 financial index soared 2 percent, far
outperforming the other 10 major sectors, led by gains in
JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup and
The KBW Nasdaq Bank index was up 2.2 percent, trading
at its highest level since late 2007.
"The markets are trading higher on the softer approach by
the President," Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First
Standard Financial wrote in a note.
"The dollar and yields are moving higher as next theme of
the market, the 'Fed' overrides the Trump effect."
The probability of a March rate hike jumped to 67.5 percent
from roughly 30 percent after the comments from Fed officials,
according to Thomson Reuters data. The central bank's
policy-setting body meets on March 14-15.
The dollar jumped 0.79 percent to mark its biggest one-day
gain since Dec. 15, while gold prices fell.
Yellen, who has said a rate increase could happen in an
upcoming meeting, is scheduled to speak on Friday. Meanwhile,
investors will closely watch Fed Board Governor Lael Brainard's
comments on Wednesday for her take on rates.
At 9:34 a.m. ET (1434 GMT) the Dow Jones Industrial Average
was up 198.2 points, or 0.95 percent, at 21,010.44, the
S&P 500 was up 19.1 points, or 0.80 percent, at 2,382.74
and the Nasdaq Composite was up 47.22 points, or 0.81
percent, at 5,872.66.
Among stocks, Lowe's jumped 9 percent to $80.99 and
was the biggest gainer on the S&P, after the home improvement
chain issued an upbeat sales forecast for the year.
Mylan rose 8 percent as the generic drugmaker
reported a 31 percent jump in quarterly revenue.
One weak spot was Intel, which was down 0.9 percent
and was the top drag on all three indexes after Bernstein
downgraded the stock to "underperform" and cut its price target.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,901
to 825. On the Nasdaq, 1,939 issues rose and 410 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed 85 new 52-week highs and one new
lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 82 new highs and 11 new lows.
(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by