The U.S. dollar plunged to a fresh three-year low Wednesday after Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told an audience in Davos, Switzerland, that a weakening greenback would be good for American trade. The comments followed a warning from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who told a panel at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss Alpine village that a decision to slap tariffs on solar panels and washing machines from China and South Korea were the first of more trade measures to come from Washington as Donald Trump accelerates his 'America First' trade policy.
The U.S. dollar index, which benchmarks the dollar against a basket of six global currencies, fell 0.9% to 89.33, a three-year low.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.64% to 26,370, the S&P 500 gained 0.43% and the Nasdaq was up 0.27%. Each of the major U.S. benchmarks struck record highs.
General Electric reported fourth-quarter adjusted profit of 27 cents a share, 2 cents below analysts' forecasts. Revenue of $31.402 billion came in sharply below estimates.
However, GE said it expects 2018 adjusted earnings of $1 to $1.07 a share vs. estimates of $1.
The stock turned lower, down 1%, after rising earlier Wednesday. It turned negative after GE said the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating the company's $6.2 billion insurance charge announced last week. GE said it was "cooperating fully" with the SEC investigation.
United Technologies Corp. earned $1.60 a share in the fourth quarter, beating estimates of $1.56. Revenue of $15.7 billion came in higher than forecasts of $15.36 billion. The stock gained 0.7%.
Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) - Get Report posted modestly stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and boosted its dividend and share buyback plans after booking a one-time $12.7 billion gain from the recent overhaul of the U.S. tax code. The stock gained 0.9%.
Analyst Narci Chang slashed iPhone X sales estimates by 33%, and forecast iPhone X production will be down 50% sequentially this quarter. In a research note, Chang said that "high-end smartphones are clearly hitting a plateau this year."
Texas Instruments Inc. (TXN) - Get Report tumbled 5.6% after the chipmaker failed to top Wall Street's bottom-line expectations for the first time in at least two years, and said it expects first-quarter earnings of between $1.01 and $1.17 a share on revenue between $3.49 billion and $3.79 billion. Wall Street predicts first-quarter earnings of $1.06 a share on revenue of $3.63 billion.
United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL) - Get Report fell 10.4% Wednesday after the parent of United Airlines said it would have to increase capacity in the near term as it battles low-cost carriers and higher oil prices in what looks increasingly like a price war for the domestic airline sector.
European stocks rose, while Asian shares finished Wednesday's session to the upside. Existing home prices in the U.S. in December fell 3.6%, more than economists' estimates of a decline of 1.5%.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the U.S. benchmark, rose 1% to $65.10 after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that domestic crude supplies fell 1.1 million barrels for the week ended Jan. 19, narrower than a decline of 1.6 million barrels expected by analysts at S&P Global Platts.
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