US Markets

Trump's executive orders send S&P 500 to an all-time high

Investors waiting for specifics out of Washington

U.S. equities rose on Tuesday, with materials spiking more than 2.5 percent on the back of more executive orders from President Donald Trump.

The S&P 500 rose about 0.66 percent, notching intraday and closing records, with materials leading eight sectors higher. Copper futures for March delivery rose more than 2 percent. platinum and palladium futures also advanced more than 2 percent.

"I think the real lift in the market was the second round of executive orders from the White House," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities. "This is very much a Trump-infrastructure rally."

President Trump signed executive orders that will make it easier for TransCanada to build the Keystone XL pipeline and for Energy Transfer Partners to build the final uncompleted portion of the Dakota Access pipeline.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 112 points, with IBM contributing the most gains. The Nasdaq composite advanced 0.9 percent, hitting record highs on a closing and intraday basis.

Entering Tuesday, the broader U.S. stock market has traded in a narrow range for over a month, as investors wait for more details aboutTrump's political agenda, especially corporate tax cuts, deregulation and government spending. Equities had rallied sharply following the election on hopes that Trump's proposals would become law.

Dow since Nov. 8

Source: FactSet

"Optimism needs to dissipate before we go up again," said Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Baird. He noted that short-term liquidity drops when optimism in the market remains high for a long time. "We need to replenish that."

Trump also told U.S. automakers he will cut taxes and regulation, a day after saying he wanted to cut regulations by 75 percent, or "maybe more."

Investors also digested a slew of corporate quarterly results as earnings season continued. "The market is finding relief in the long-awaited recovery of corporate earnings," said Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman.

Five Dow components posted quarterly results before the bell. DuPont, 3M and Johnson & Johnson outpaced Wall Street earnings per share estimates, but fell short of revenue expectations.

"So far, we haven't seen any controversy in either direction from many of these bellwether companies," said Aaron Clark, portfolio manager at GW&K Investment Management. "I think it will reinforce that the earnings recession has bottomed and we can continue to see growth."

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Getty Images

Telecom giant Verizon missed on the bottom line while topping sales estimates, while Travelers beat on both lines.

Nick Raich, CEO at The Earnings Scout, said that, of the 79 S&P 500 companies that have reported, 70 percent have topped analyst expectations, while 53 percent have beaten on the top line.

However, Raich added that "we're not seeing earnings estimates [for the first quarter] go up, as so many expected with Trump's policies." "That's certainly disappointing for some."

Maris Ogg, president at Tower Bridge Advisors, said that while fourth-quarter earnings have been solid, it could be a "rocky earnings season as companies fess up that their first-quarter numbers may be hit by currency" moves, namely the strong dollar. The U.S. currency rallies sharply after the election, but has given back some gains.

In economic news, the IHS Markit Manufacturing PMI for January rose to 55.1, from 54.3 in December, lifted by a surge in new orders. Existing home sales fell 2.8 percent in December.

Overseas, European equities rose mostly, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 index advancing 0.25 percent. In the United Kingdom, the Supreme Court said that the government will need parliamentary approval to start Brexit negotiations with the EU.

The ruling sent the British pound lower, before recovering losses.

"The major thing which is under threat for Theresa May is timing. She has promised to initiate the Article 50 in March and deliver it in two years and Supreme court's decision has made that difficult. The government may have to produce regular reports on the progress of talks and this itself will also delay the over all process of Brexit," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets in London.

Asia equities closed mixed, with the Nikkei 225 falling 0.55 percent and the Shanghai composite rising 0.18 percent.

Major U.S. Indexes

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 112.86 points, or 0.57 percent, to 19,912.71, with DuPont leading advancers and Verizon the top decliner.

The gained 14.87 points, or 0.66 percent, to 2,280.07, with materials leading eight sectors higher and telecommunications lagging.

The Nasdaq composite advanced 48.01 points, or 0.86 percent, to 5,600.96.

About three stocks advanced for every decliner at the New York Stock Exchange, with an exchange volume of 865.04 million and a composite volume of 3.8 billion at the close.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, traded near 11.1.

—CNBC's Silvia Amaro and Tom DiChristopher contributed to this report.

On tap this week:


Earnings: Texas Instruments, Capitol One, Seagate


Earnings: Boeing, United Technologies, Abbott Labs, Freeport McMorRan, Hess, Illinois Tool Works, Textron, AT&T, eBay, Qualcomm, Citrix, WW Grainger, Las Vegas Sands, Cullen/Frost Bankers, Murphy Oil, McKesson, Norfolk Southern

9:00 a.m. FHFA home price index


Earnings: Intel, Microsoft, Alphabet, Caterpillar, Comcast, Dow Chemical, Ford, Fiat Chrysler, Unilever, Biogen, Northrop Grumman, Blackstone, Praxair, Potash, Alaska Air, PulteGroup, LM Ericsson, LVMH, Raytheon, Southwest Air, Stanley Black & Decker

8:30 a.m. Jobless claims

9:45 a.m. Markit services PMI

10:00 a.m. New home sales


Earnings: Chevron, Colgate-Palmolive, Honeywell, American Airlines, General Dynamics, Air Products

8:30 a.m. Durable goods

8:30 a.m. Q4 Real GDP

10:00 a.m. Consumer sentiment

Closing Bell Exchange: Growth policies to help market