Wall Street: S&P and Nasdaq close at fresh records

NYSE traders Image copyright Reuters

Wall Street posted solid gains, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes reaching record highs.

Mining, energy, and financial stocks were among the big gainers, with healthcare and telecoms among the main losers.

The Dow Jones rose 0.6% to 19,912.7, and the S&P 500 rose 0.7% to 2,280.07. The Nasdaq added 0.9% to 5,600.9.

Small-company stocks outpaced the rest of the market. The Russell 2000 jumped 1.6% to 1,369.21 points.

Mining and other materials sector companies could benefit from initiatives by the White House to streamline the permitting process for manufacturing and clear the way for pipeline construction.

Energy companies climbed as crude oil prices closed higher. The rally also swept up stocks in US homebuilders.

Healthcare, phone companies and other high-dividend stocks were among the biggest laggards as bond yields rose.

While several big companies reported quarterly earnings, investors focused on the latest batch of executive actions from President Donald Trump.

Trump talks

"The importance of this earnings season has been dimmed only because we all realise there's going to be some changes in policy,'' said J.J. Kinahan, TD Ameritrade's chief strategist. "Now you're trading on the edicts, or whatever they may be, that are coming out of the White House.''

Trump hosted a breakfast meeting with the heads of General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler, the big three US carmakers that argues should invest more in the US.

The chiefs expressed optimism after the meeting, prompting a rise in carmakers' shares. GM gained 1%, Ford added 2.4%, and Fiat Chrysler rose 5.8%.

Verizon fell 4.4% after the phone and communications company posted earnings for the last three months of 2016 that fell short of what analysts' forecasts.