Wall Street stocks surged to fresh records on Thursday after the US Senate approved a new North American trade pact, adding to the momentum from the US-China trade deal. All three major indices finished at all-time highs, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 267.42 points (0.92%) at 29,297.64.
The broad-based S&P 500 gained 27.52 points (0.84%) to close at 3,316.81, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 98.44 points (1.06%) to 9,357.13.
Investors welcomed the Senate's overwhelming approval of the new US/Mexico/Canada Agreement, a rewrite of the NAFTA agreement that now requires only President Donald Trump's signature and approval from Canada before it enters into force.
A lot of the uncertainties that we were facing last year have been cleared, said Maris Ogg of Tower Bridge Advisors, who said there has been a collective sigh of relief as markets have seen recession fears recede.
Ogg said lofty stock valuations were a little worrisome but added that bull markets don't usually end because of valuations unless it gets very extreme.
The gains came as the National Retail Federation estimated that 2019 holiday sales rose 4.1 per cent to US$730.2 billion from the year-ago period, a solid performance that met expectations.
Among individual companies, Morgan Stanley gained 6.5% as fourth-quarter earnings easily topped expectations, making it the latest large financial group to report good results. Alcoa plunged 11.8% after reporting a loss of US$303 million in the fourth quarter, due in part to one-time costs connected to the closure of an alumina refinery in Texas.
US trade with Canada and Mexico supports 12 million American jobs and 49 of 50 US states list Mexico or Canada among their three top export destinations, according to the US Chamber of Commerce.
Canada and Mexico together represent 40% of the growth in US goods exports. Trade with those two countries reached US$1.4 trillion in 2018.
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