MARKET SNAPSHOT: Dow, S&P 500 Hit Records As Powell Not Expected To Rock The Boat

By Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch , Ryan Vlastelica Features Dow Jones Newswires

Strategist: Fed's Jerome Powell 'unlikely to upend the current narrative'

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U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday, with both the Dow and the S&P 500 inching up to record levels, although moves were slight as investors looked ahead to remarks from Jerome Powell, President Donald Trump's pick to run the Federal Reserve.

What are the main benchmarks doing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 60 points, or 0.3%, to 23,622. The S&P 500 added 3.7 points to 2,606, a gain of 0.1%. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 8 points, or 0.1%, to 6,422. Both the Dow and the S&P hit all-time highs in early trading, while the Nasdaq was a few points below its own record.

The three equity benchmarks are up between 16% and 32% for the year as of Monday's close, boosted by factors such as an expanding U.S. economy, rising corporate profits, anemic expected returns for other assets and bets that the Trump administration will deliver tax cuts and other business-friendly policies.

The day's gains were broad, with nine of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors higher on the day. Energy shares were the biggest gainers, up 0.6% in a rebound from the previous session's losses. The material and industrial sectors both rose 0.3% on the day.

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What could help drive markets?

Powell is scheduled to testify at a Senate confirmation hearing (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/meet-the-next-fed-boss-same-as-the-old-boss-jerome-powell-to-face-senate-glare-2017-11-26) Tuesday morning, giving investors their first big clue on how he hopes to operate at the Fed. His opening statement for the hearing was released Monday, indicating he expects to stay on the course (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/powell-to-testify-fed-will-continue-to-hike-interest-rates-shrink-the-balance-sheet-2017-11-27) set by the current Fed chief, Janet Yellen.

Read MarketWatch's live blog of the confirmation hearing (http://blogs.marketwatch.com/capitolreport/2017/11/28/live-blog-and-video-of-jerome-powell-confirmation-hearing/)

Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker is due to give a speech on financial safety for the aging population at his bank's headquarters, and New York Fed President William Dudley is slated to give opening remarks at a conference on the U.S. Treasury markets later in the day.

Late Monday, Dudley said he still expects a strong job market will help push inflation up over time, and he repeated his view that low inflation with low unemployment is "not actually a bad thing (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/feds-dudley-expects-strong-job-market-will-eventually-boost-inflation-2017-11-27)."

Check out:MarketWatch's Economic Calendar (http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic)

On the data front, the advanced U.S. trade deficit in goods rose 6.5% to $68.3 billion in October (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-trade-deficit-surges-in-october-advanced-report-shows-2017-11-28). Separately, home prices rose at their fastest pace in more than three years in September (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/house-prices-rise-at-fastest-pace-since-june-2014-case-shiller-says-2017-11-28).

Read:Bond traders don't care about nonfarm payrolls anymore (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bond-traders-dont-care-about-nonfarm-payrolls-anymore-in-one-chart-2017-11-27)

What are strategists saying?

"Our U.S. economists argue [Powell] is unlikely to upend the current narrative and last night's release of the testimony confirms that," said Elsa Lignos, RBC's global head of foreign exchange strategy, in a note. "His big differentiating factor vs. Yellen is that he is approaching financial regulation with a lighter touch."

Which stocks look like key movers?

Shares in Buffalo Wild Wings Inc.(BWLD) climbed 6% after Arby's Restaurant Group Inc., which is owned by private-equity firm Roark Capital Group, agreed to acquire the restaurant chain (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/roark-backed-arbys-to-buy-buffalo-wild-wings-in-deal-valued-at-29-billion-including-debt-2017-11-28) for $157 a share in a deal valued at $2.9 billion, including debt.

Shares in Amazon.com Inc.(AMZN) rose 0.6% as investors assessed how the e-commerce giant performed on Cyber Monday. Adobe data have indicated this year's Cyber Monday sales set a record (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/cyber-monday-expected-to-be-largest-online-sales-day-ever-with-659-billion-spent-adobe-2017-11-28). The SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT) was up 0.3%.

Wells Fargo & Co.'s stock (WFC) dipped 0.2% following claims the bank overcharged foreign-exchange clients (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/wells-fargo-overcharged-hundreds-of-business-clients-report-2017-11-27).

What are other assets doing?

European stocks (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-stocks-drive-european-stocks-higher-as-shell-strikes-upbeat-tone-2017-11-28) traded higher, while Asian markets closed mixed (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asian-markets-mixed-as-investors-keep-wary-eye-on-chinese-stocks-2017-11-27). Oil futures (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-move-lower-as-doubts-creep-in-over-opec-outcome-2017-11-28) continued to pull back, as some analysts voiced doubts over what a Thursday meeting of key producers will achieve. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dollar-rises-as-traders-wait-to-see-if-feds-powell-will-give-hawkish-hints-2017-11-28) rose, and gold futures were roughly unchanged.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 28, 2017 09:55 ET (14:55 GMT)