World finance :: Personal finances, Markets & Earnings

Dow pierces 21,000 after Trump speech, rate hike chatter

The Dow on Wednesday blasted through the 21,000 mark for the first time after U.S. President Donald Trump's measured tone in his first speech to Congress lifted optimism and investors viewed a looming interest rate hike as a glass half full. The three main stock indexes surged more than 1.3 percent to close at record highs. Trump on Tuesday said he wanted to boost the U.S. economy with a "massive" tax relief and make a $1 trillion push on infrastructure, bets that have helped Wall Street scale fresh records since the election. But it was a break in Trump's often-abrasive speaking style that encouraged many investors who have worried he may struggle to push his agenda through a Congress reluctant to widen the government's budget deficit."People were concerned Trump was maybe running off the rails. After the speech last night everybody walked away with a good feeling," said Stephen Massocca, Senior Vice President at Wedbush Securities in San Francisco. "Some of the things he said, the algebra doesn't work but people know the direction it's going to go." The S&P financial index . SPSY soared 2.84 percent, outperforming the other 10 major sectors, also helped by key Federal Reserve officials who hinted at an interest rate hike this month. A March rate hike would be sooner than many investors expected and make it more expensive to borrow money to buy stocks but it would also signal policymakers' growing confidence in economic expansion after nearly a decade of tepid growth. "It's not necessarily the rate increase that matters. It's that they're seeing things improving. If the Fed feels more confident, maybe we should too," said Warren West, principal at Greentree Brokerage Services in Philadelphia.

Adding to expectations of stronger economic growth, the Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index rose in February to its highest since 2014. The perceived chances of a March rate hike also rose after the U.S. Commerce Department reported that January inflation ticked up by the most in four years. Traders have now priced in a nearly 70 percent chance of a rate hike when the Fed's policy-setting body meets on March 14-15, according to Thomson Reuters data.

LOFTY VALUATIONS The Dow Jones Industrial Average . DJI jumped 1.46 percent to end at 21,115.55, while the S&P 500 . SPX rallied 1.37 percent to 2,395.96. The Nasdaq Composite . IXIC climbed 1.35 percent to 5,904.03. Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors gained more than 1 percent, including energy . SPNY, up 2.05 percent. About 8.1 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, the most in 2017 and well above the 6.9 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Snap tops expectations in pricing of long-awaited IPO: source Snap Inc priced its initial public offering above its target range on Wednesday, a source familiar with the situation said, raising $3.4 billion as investors set aside concerns about its lack of profits and voting rights for a piece of the hottest tech IPO in years. At $17 a share, the parent of popular disappearing-messaging app Snapchat has a market valuation of roughly $24 billion, more than double the size of rival Twitter and the richest valuation in a U.S. tech IPO since Fac

More Wells Fargo customers may be affected by sales scandal: filing More Wells Fargo & Co customers may have been affected by a scandal over phony accounts than previously believed, the third-largest U.S. lender said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday.

Oil slips after U.S. crude stocks build to record high NEW YORK Oil prices ended slightly lower on Wednesday as record high U.S. crude supplies tempered expectations that the market will rebalance as evidence emerges that OPEC producers are complying with an agreement to cut production.

Las Vegas Sands CEO says Japan casino resort could cost up to $10 billion

A resort hosting casinos in Japan could cost up to $10 billion to build, Las Vegas Sands Corp's (LVS. N) chief said, as the casino operator looks to win operating rights in what is widely expected to become the world's second-biggest casino market."It would be at least what we paid in Singapore, $6 billion including the land, but it could be as much as $10 billion," Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sheldon Adelson said on Tuesday at an investor conference in Tokyo, referring to the Marina Bay Sands property in Singapore. Japan legalized casinos late last year and is now drafting rules, due by December, on how to regulate the industry and pick operators and locations of so-called "integrated resorts" - large-scale complexes combining casinos, hotels and shopping.

Though estimates of the potential size of the Japanese market vary, brokerage CLSA said just two resorts in major cities could generate a total of $10 billion in annual revenue, growing to $25 billion with more locations.

Major U.S. operators including MGM Resorts International (MGM. N) and Wynn Resorts Ltd (WYNN. O) are also among the runners for the first license, while Galaxy Entertainment Corp Ltd (GALE. BO) and Australia's Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd (MPEL. O) have also expressed interest. Political sources previously told Reuters that Japan is likely to pick casino operators and locations by 2019, with the first casinos opening by 2023.