November 28, 2017 / 10:25 AM / 8 months ago

Wall Street, dollar up on U.S. policy hopes; sterling swings

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street hit record highs and the dollar edged up on Tuesday as traders eyed progress on U.S. tax reform, strong economic data and comments from Federal Reserve chair nominee Jerome Powell.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., November 28, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The British pound briefly rallied more than 1 percent from its lows after The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that Britain and the European Union had agreed on the Brexit divorce bill, citing unidentified sources.

Sterling was last 0.32 percent higher at $1.3359.

U.S. stocks had a volatile afternoon after news of a North Korean missile launch caused the S&P 500 to pare gains. But indexes regained ground and hit fresh highs as investor focus returned to hopes for U.S. tax cuts.

The U.S. Senate budget committee voted along party lines to send a Republican tax bill to the full Senate for a vote.

“It’s all about tax reform right now and a little bit about the new Fed chairman,” said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer at Independent Advisor Alliance in Cornelius, North Carolina.

“With the House having passed it and the Senate working hard on it, there’s a lot of optimism something will get passed. But with only two votes to lose it’s going to be a bit of a challenge.”

The S&P’s biggest boost came from financial stocks after Powell discussed potentially lightening regulation in his confirmation hearing, and said the best way to sustain the U.S. economic recovery would be to continue gradual rate increases.

Dollar banknotes are seen in this picture illustration taken April 28, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 247.19 points, or 1.05 percent, to 23,827.97, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 24.73 points, or 0.95 percent, to 2,626.15 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 31.50 points, or 0.46 percent, to 6,910.02.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 rose 0.59 percent and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS gained 0.49 percent.

The dollar index .DXY rose 0.36 percent, with the euro EUR= down 0.44 percent to $1.1844.

The dollar was helped by data showing U.S consumer confidence surged to a near 17-year high in November, driven by a robust labour market, and that house prices rose sharply in September, which should underpin consumer spending and boost economic growth.

“Some of the data that we got today kind of confirms this goldilocks environment that we have,” said Anthony Saglimbene, global market strategist at Ameriprise in Troy, Michigan. “Unemployment and interest rates are low, confidence and asset prices are high.”

Benchmark 10-year notes US10YT=RR last fell 3/32 in price to yield 2.3365 percent, from 2.328 percent late on Monday.

The 30-year bond US30YT=RR last fell 1/32 in price to yield 2.7661 percent, from 2.765 percent late on Monday.

Oil prices eased on uncertainty over the outcome of an OPEC meeting this week at which an extension to its price-supporting oil output cuts will be discussed.

U.S. crude CLcv1 fell 0.36 percent to $57.90 per barrel and Brent LCOcv1 was last at $63.49, down 0.55 percent on the day.

Additional reporting by Lewis Krauskopf, Saqib Iqbal Ahmed and Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York, Georgina Prodhan in London, Swati Pandey in Sydney; Editing by Catherine Evans and Nick Zieminski

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