STOCKS CLIMB: Here's what you need to know

Stocks climbed early on Wednesday, and then picked up a bit more speed in the afternoon following the release of the December Fed minutes.

All three major indices finished in the green.

First up, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 19,941.33, +59.57, (+0.30%)
  • S&P 500: 2,270.57, +12.76, (+0.57%)
  • Nasdaq: 5,477.81, +48.72, (+0.90%)
  • US 10-year yield: 2.455%, +0.001
  • WTI Crude oil: $56.34/bbl, +0.87, (+1.6%)

1. The Fed has its eyes on Trump. The Federal Reserve is watching for the impact of fiscal policy on economic growth and on how quickly it raises interest rates, according to the minutes of the Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC) meeting held in December. President-elect Donald Trump has proposed billions in infrastructure spending, and tax cuts for corporations and individuals.

2. The US auto industry is on the verge of a historic milestone. Throughout Wednesday, automakers are releasing their sales numbers for December. The final data could show that in 2016, US auto sales rose to a new record and for a seventh straight year.

3. Trump’s pick to head the SEC has a history of defending big banks. Transition sources say that Trump will nominate Jay Clayton, a Wall Street lawyer, to head up the Securities and Exchange Commission. He represented multiple banks during the financial crisis including Barclays, Bear Stearns, and Goldman Sachs.

4. Bitcoin went bananas. The cryptocurrency was 10.1% higher at $1,127.48 per coin just after noon in New York on Wednesday, bringing its 2017 gain to 17.8%. Bitcoin is up 95% since the beginning of September, and it gained 123% in 2016, making it the top performing currency for the second year in a row.

5. HSBC: The “euphoria” surrounding the dollar will end once reality sets in. “The USD rally will reverse as belief in Trump-flation turns to realisation that the scale of policy overhaul is relatively modest (‘Trump-lite’), and that the results are underwhelming as a consequence (‘Trump-failure’),” they wrote. “We expect a retracement from mid-year to the end of the year.”

6. The Canadian dollar climbed higher. The currency was up by 0.8% at 1.3318 against the US dollar in the late afternoon. It was through its 20-day moving average for the first time since December 15, as Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy, observed.

7. Weight watchers jumped by 20% after a tweet from Oprah and a new diet ranking. The company had the fourth-best diet in US News & World Report’s new ranking of eating plans on Wednesday, and major investor and board member Oprah Winfrey tweeted a new advertisement supporting it.


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