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Stocks close at record highs after interest rates jump

CNBC logo CNBC 9/12/2017 Fred Imbert

Stocks ended higher Tuesday as financials received a boost from rising yields. Wall Street also assessed comments from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on tax reform. 

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes each rose 0.34 percent, setting record closing highs. 

The Dow gained 61 points, with Goldman Sachs and DowDuPont among the best-performing stocks in the index.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield rose to trade at 2.171 percent, building on sharp gains made in the previous session. The yield also hit its highest level since Sept. 1. Financials followed yields higher, with the Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund exchange-traded fund (XLF) jumping 1 percent.

"The fear trade of North Korea possibly exploding another hydrogen bomb is unwinding and the damage from Hurricane Irma doesn't seem to be as bad as thought," said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private. "That's pushing out the weaker hands out of the bond market."

The Asian nation successfully tested a hydrogen bomb on Sept. 3, sparking outrage from the international community. The U.N. Security Council unanimously voted to cap North Korea's crude oil imports and ban its textile exports on Monday night.

Meanwhile, damage estimates stemming from Irma, a storm that was once a Category 5 hurricane, were broadly lowered.

These factors helped the Dow, S&P and Nasdaq rally on Monday, as they advanced more than 1 percent.

Investors also set their sights on Washington after Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said he was "hopeful" that tax reform would be accomplished by year's end, adding the administration is thinking about backdating reform to Jan. 1.

Backdating "is still something we are considering and it would be a big boon for the economy," he said at the Delivering Alpha conference presented by CNBC and Institutional Investor.

U.S. stocks initially jumped after president Donald Trump's election on hopes of tax reform, deregulation and infrastructure spending. But the administration has faced several hurdles trying to move its agenda forward, including in-party fighting.

"People are in wait-and-see mode in terms of tax reform. We get a bit of a pop every time it gets mentioned, but I think the market is in a bit of disbelief," said Boston Private's Pavlik.

Elsewhere, Apple held its annual consumer products event, where it unveiled three new iPhone models and an Apple Watch that doesn't need an iPhone to work.

Shares of Apple erased earlier losses to trade 0.3 percent higher. For the year, the stock has jumped approximately 40 percent and Drexel Hamilton analyst Brian White thinks it will benefit from the upcoming iPhone cycle.


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