Stocks extend gains, S&P sets new high

Tuesday’s US stock market rally showed no signs of abating late into the session, as the main stock indices powered higher.

Judging by the price action of the US stock market, it would appear that investors are almost entirely discounting risks associated with Ukraine, as fresh buying pushed the S&P 500 to a new intraday high. With under an hour to the close in New York, the S&P 500 was up 1.6% or 29.6 points at 1875.3, while the Dow Jones gained 1.46% or 235 points to 16,403.

Those buying at these high prices while the situation in Ukraine remains unresolved are certainly braver than me. US Secretary of State John Kerry is in Kiev and said in a news conference that ‘we condemn the Russian Federation’s act of aggression.’ These are not words of mollification and though President Putin has appeared to put military action on the back burner, the fact remains that Russia continues to occupy Crimea, an act of provocation that will likely result in censure from the West in some form of another.

Tomorrow’s economic calendar will certainly be more brisk than today although may still struggle to deflect attention from the arena of geo-politics. We have the ADP employment report before the US stock market opens, a couple of days ahead of the official government figures. Personally, I pay little heed to this indicator these days as it has proven too frequently out of whack with the official data. We also have the services sector reports from Markit and the ISM, complementing their manufacturing equivalents from yesterday. 

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