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US: Dow ends at record as Trump names new Fed chief


[NEW YORK] The Dow ended at a record high Thursday after President Donald Trump nominated Jerome Powell to lead the Federal Reserve and congressional Republicans unveiled their long-awaited tax cut plan.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.3 per cent to finish at 23,514.81, about 75 points above the prior record set last Friday.

The broad-based S&P 500 ended up a hair at 2,579.85, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dipped less than 0.1 per cent to 6,714.94.

Mr Powell has echoed the Trump administration's views on bank deregulation, but also supported outgoing Fed chief Janet Yellen's very gradual interest rate increases.

Market voices on:

Analysts viewed the pick as a non-controversial choice unlikely to radically change the gradual tightening monetary policies that stock markets like.

The tax proposal, which would dramatically slash corporate rates, was touted by Trump and allies in Congress as crucial to speed growth.

But powerful groups representing small businesses and homebuilders came out against Thursday's bill, underscoring the challenges ahead.

"There is still a long way to go for the tax reform," said Hugh Johnson of Hugh Johnson Advisors. "There will probably be a significant amount of changes." "The market is aware of that, but is happy that something at least is getting done in Congress."

Dow companies rising more than one per cent included Boeing, Goldman Sachs, McDonald's, Microsoft and United Technologies.

Time Warner dropped 3.8 per cent after the Wall Street Journal reported that US antitrust regulators could sue to block its takeover by AT&T, which fell 1.1 per cent.

Facebook dropped 2.1 per ent as it warned that it would need to boost spending to safeguard its network following widespread abuses and misinformation in the 2016 US elections. Earnings in the third quarter shot up 79 per cent to US$4.7 billion.

Tesla Motors sank 6.8 per cent after it signaled it would miss a year-end target to produce 5,000 Model 3 cars a week. The electric-car maker reported a quarterly loss of US$619 million, its largest deficit ever.

Others seeing significant price drops after earnings reports included Symantec, which lost 8.6 per cent and Teva Pharmaceuticals, which sank 19.9 per cent Homebuilders Lennar and KB Home fell about three per cent after the Republican tax plan lowered popular deductions for mortgage interest.

Home-improvement retailers also were hit, with Dow member Home Depot losing 1.6 per cent and Lowe's dropping 4.1 per cent.