Belfast Telegraph

Telecoms firms help push US stocks to new record high

US stocks have posted slight gains, sending the Dow Jones industrial average to another record, helped by shares of telecommunications companies such as Verizon, Sprint and AT&T.

Small companies and bank stocks also rose as investors continue to speculate that US economic growth will pick up under the incoming Donald Trump administration.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 35.54 points, or 0.2%, to 19,251.78 - a record high close.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 7.52 points, or 0.3%, to 2,212.23 and the Nasdaq composite rose 24.11 points, or 0.5%, to 5,333.

Telecommunications stocks were among the biggest risers, helped by a myriad of company-specific news. Dow member Verizon climbed 61 cents, or 1%, to 50.36 US dollars (£39.71) and AT&T rose 72 cents, or 2%, to 39.35 US dollars (£31.01). Overall, the telecoms sector of the S&P 500 rose 1.5%.

AT&T rose following reports that its newly-launched DirectTV Now service is attracting more subscribers than anticipated, while Verizon surged as the company sold a group of data centres for 3.6 billion US dollars (£2.8 billion).

Separately, Sprint and T-Mobile gained after President-elect Mr Trump said Japanese company Softbank, which owns the majority of Sprint, is going to invest 50 billion US dollars (£39.4 billion) in America to create 50,000 jobs over the next four years.

However, it is not clear if Softbank's announcement is new. T-Mobile shares rose on speculation that it could be acquired in de-regulatory Trump White House, possibly by SoftBank.

Sprint jumped 12 cents, or 1.5%, to 8.17 US dollars (£6.44), while T-Mobile rose 97 cents, or roughly 2%, to 55.99 US dollars (£44.16).

Bank stocks also continued to perform well, as they have since the election. The financial services sector of the S&P 500 closed up 1%, far more than the broader market. The Russell 2000 index, which is made up of mostly smaller companies, rose 1.1% to a new record as well.

Boeing's stock dropped briefly after Mr Trump said he believes the US government should cancel its order for a new Air Force One plane, claiming the project is too expensive.

The Air Force has not contracted out the new Air Force One plane, due in 2021, yet. However Boeing does have a 170 million US dollars (£134 million) viability contract with the Air Force to determine the capabilities of the next version of Air Force One.

Boeing had been down as much as 1% earlier in the day, only to close mostly unchanged at 152.24 US dollars (£120).