Banks and other financial companies led US stocks sharply higher in morning trading Wednesday, pushing the Dow Jones industrial average above 21,000 points for the first time, the AP reports. Energy and materials companies were also among the big gainers, while utilities and real estate stocks lagged. The rally came a day after President Trump addressed Congress, reaffirming plans to cut taxes and push for other business-friendly policies. The Dow jumped 242 points, or 1.2%, to 21,055 as of 10:07am Eastern Time; as of this writing, it is at 21,123. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 24 points, or 1%, to 2,387. The Nasdaq composite index added 59 points, or 1%, to 5,885. Small-company stocks continued to outpace the rest of the market, a bullish signal on the economy. The Russell 2000 index rose 24 points, or 1.7%, to 1,410.
"It's nice to see the Dow put another thousand figure up so quickly," said Paul Christopher, head global market strategist for Wells Fargo Investment Institute. "At the same time, it sort of suggests this is a sentiment-driven rally. There's usually some recalibration of sentiment at some point." In his speech, Trump struck a less confrontational tone than usual and steered away from dramatically negative descriptions of the state of the US economy. He also reaffirmed his pledges to reform taxes, slash red tape, and ramp up spending on defense and infrastructure projects. The promises have helped send US stock benchmarks to records, but Trump offered little by way of detail. (Read more Dow Jones stories.)