Wall Street, dollar rise on policy bets; sterling swings

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street closed at a record high and the dollar rose on Tuesday as sentiment was buoyed by progress on U.S. tax reform, strong economic data and comments by the nominee for chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., November 28, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The British pound briefly rallied more than 1 percent from its lows after The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that Britain and the European Union had agreed on the amount of the Brexit financial settlement, citing unidentified sources.

Sterling was last 0.31 percent higher at $1.3357.

U.S. stocks had a volatile afternoon after news of a North Korean missile launch caused the S&P 500 to pare gains. But indexes regained ground as investors’ focused on progress for a U.S. tax cut bill, and all three major indexes posted record closing highs.

The U.S. Senate budget committee voted along party lines to send a Republican tax bill for a full Senate vote.

“People are trying to move in front of what they think now is likely to be some tax reform on the corporate side,” said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.

The S&P’s biggest boost came from financial stocks after Fed chair nominee Jerome Powell, in his Senate confirmation hearing, discussed potentially lightening regulation. He also said the best way to sustain the U.S. economic recovery would be to continue gradual interest rate increases.

Slideshow ( 2 images )

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 255.93 points, or 1.09 percent, to 23,836.71, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 25.62 points, or 0.98 percent, to 2,627.04, and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 33.84 points, or 0.49 percent, to 6,912.36.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 rose 0.59 percent and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS gained 0.48 percent.

The dollar index .DXY rose 0.35 percent, with the euro EUR= down 0.44 percent to $1.1844

On top of the policy news, the dollar was helped by data that showed U.S. consumer confidence surged to a near 17-year high in November, driven by a robust labor market, and that home prices rose sharply in September, which should underpin consumer spending and boost economic growth.

“This is partly an unwind of some of the move we saw last week, which took place in the wake of the slightly more cautious minutes from the Fed and in an especially illiquid holiday market,” said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in Washington. He also cited the positive data.

U.S. Treasury yields inched higher as risk appetite improved due to the consumer confidence data and the Senate panel vote to advance the tax bill.

Benchmark 10-year notes US10YT=RR last rose 1/32 in price to yield 2.3259 percent, from 2.328 percent late on Monday.

The 30-year bond US30YT=RR last rose 7/32 in price to yield 2.7554 percent, from 2.765 percent late on Monday.

Oil prices eased on uncertainty over the outcome of an OPEC meeting this week at which an extension to OPEC’s price-supporting oil output cuts will be discussed.

U.S. crude CLcv1 fell 0.74 percent to $57.68 per barrel and Brent LCOcv1 was last at $63.28, down 0.88 percent on the day.

Spot gold XAU= dropped 0.1 percent to $1,293.74 an ounce.

Additional reporting by Lewis Krauskopf, Saqib Iqbal Ahmed and Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York, Georgina Prodhan in London; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Leslie Adler