Stocks added to gains and traded at new record highs on Tuesday as rallies in the energy and tech sectors helped drive gains.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.64% and traded as high as 19,954, a new intraday record. The blue-chip index is within range of the psychologically important and never-been-seen 20,000 level. The S&P 500 gained 0.72%, and the Nasdaq climbed 1.1%.
The Dow ended Monday with its 15th record closing high since Election Day and sixth record close in a row. The blue-chip index has been on a roll since President-elect Donald Trump won the general election a month ago and began to pick candidates for cabinet positions that many presumed would be friendly to Wall Street. For example, Steve Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive, has been nominated as Treasury secretary and ExxonMobil (XOM - Get Report) CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state.
Tillerson's nomination boosted the energy sector on Tuesday even as a surge in crude oil prices faded. Energy also held higher after the International Energy Agency raised its forecast for demand this year. The watchdog anticipates global demand growth of 1.4 million barrels a day, an increase of 120,000 from its previous forecast, as strong third-quarter growth in the U.S. and improved forecasts in China inspired a more bullish outlook. The agency sees growth of 1.3 million barrels a day in 2017.
The IEA also anticipates global inventories to begin to fall in the first half of next year thanks to a production cap agreement among the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other non-OPEC producers. Non-OPEC producers, including Russia, agreed to cut oil output by 558,000 barrels a day next year, on top of OPEC's commitment to reduce by 1.2 million barrels a day.
"Success means the reinforcement of prices and revenue stability for producers after two difficult years; failure risks starting a fourth year of stock builds and a possible return to lower prices," the EIA said in its monthly report.
Oil stepped back from gains on Tuesday after trading as much as 1% higher earlier in the session. West Texas Intermediate crude settled 0.3% higher at $52.98 a barrel on Tuesday.
The tech sector was the best performer on markets on Wall Street. The industry had been beaten down in recent weeks as cash flowed out of high-momentum tech movers. Apple (AAPL - Get Report) , Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) , Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) and Alphabet (GOOGL - Get Report) moved higher on Tuesday, while the Technology SPDR ETF (XLK - Get Report) added 1.7%.
The Federal Reserve convened for a two-day meeting on Tuesday morning, which will culminate in a policy announcement Wednesday afternoon. Economists anticipate few big surprises in terms of policy change: An interest rate hike in December has been telegraphed for months and the economic data has backed up a shift to policy normalization for some time.
"There's almost no question," Dan North, chief economist at Euler Hermes North America, told TheStreet. "In September when they published the dot plot, [a majority] out of 17 members said, 'We're going to raise rates this year.' So when it comes to the end of the year, if you said you were going to do it, you pretty much have to do it."
The likelihood of a rate hike when the Fed meets currently sits at 93%, according to CME Group fed funds futures. Most are anticipating an increase of 25 basis points with a few economists even suggesting the slim chance of an increase of 50 basis points. Stocks have taken another interest rate hike in stride as evidence the U.S. economy is on better footing.
U.S. import prices in November fell, though at a slower pace than expected. Import prices declined 0.3% last month from 0.5% growth in October. Analysts had anticipated prices would fall 0.4%. Export prices declined by 0.1% in November compared to an anticipated flat reading.
JetBlue (JBLU - Get Report) flew higher after delivering a favorable update on November traffic and guiding for an improved fourth quarter. The airline anticipates revenue per available seat mile to decline by 1% to 2% in the fourth quarter, better than an anticipated 3% decline.
AB InBev (BUD) climbed more than 1% after agreeing to sell its European beer brands to Japan's Asahi Group (ASBRY) for €7.3 billion ($7.8 billion). Asahi will accrue SABMiller brands in Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Poland, and the Czech Republic. The owner of Budweiser is selling off assets in order to ease antitrust concerns from European regulators after it merged with SABMiller.
Boeing (BA - Get Report) raised its dividend by 30% to $1.42 a share. The aircraft manufacturer also announced it would limit its production rate of 777s to five per month beginning in August. Boeing previously targeted seven a month.
SeaWorld (SEAS - Get Report) climbed after being upgraded to buy from neutral at Janney Capital. The firm said it expects improved performance at the Orlando, Florida theme park after a series of price hikes.
21st Century Fox (FOXA) was downgraded to market perform from outperform at Telsey Advisory. Analysts forecast a long regulatory review process for a potential Sky purchase.