US stock rally kicks a gear higher after Trump executive order

The rally in US stocks gathered pace on Thursday as traders cheered strong corporate earnings and further moves by the Trump administration to protect American steel.

The S&P 500 extended its gain to 1 per cent to 2,360.27 in early afternoon trade, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite rose by a similar margin to 20,578.36 and 5,916.42 respectively.

Shares in basic materials led the charge, up 1.4 per cent, on a surge in US steel companies after President Donald Trump ordered a probe in whether foreign imports hurt national security.

Kaiser Aluminum, AK Steel, United States Steel and Cliff Natural Resources were all up 7 per cent or higher.

Shares in industrial were also up 1.2 per cent, with CSX railroad gaining 6.7 per cent after lifting its 2017 guidance on earnings per share to a 25 per cent increase. Shares in GE were also up 1.5 per cent ahead of its results on Friday.

The day’s gains have helped pare back the month to date losses for the US markets, which had been on track for its worst month since January 2016. The S&P 500 is now down 0.2 per cent for the month while the Dow Jones is down 0.3 per cent.

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