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Stocks rise sharply, Dow over 21,000 for first time

Jonathan Niles, left, and Jay Woods work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Stocks opened strongly higher on Wall Street, led by big gains in banks as investors expected interest rates to rise. The early jump Wednesday put the Dow Jones industrial average above 21,000 points for the first time.

NEW YORK — Banks and other financial companies led U.S. stocks sharply higher, pushing the Dow Jones industrial average above 21,000 points for the first time.

Wednesday’s gain was the biggest for the blue-chip index so far this year.

Energy companies also rose. Bank of America rose 3.8 percent and ConocoPhillips rose 3.1 percent.

The rally came a day after President Donald Trump reaffirmed plans to cut taxes and push for other business-friendly policies.

Bond prices fell and yields rose after New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley said the case for raising interest rates had gotten stronger.

The Dow jumped 303 points, or 1.5 percent, to 21,115.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 32 points, or 1.4 percent, to 2,395. The Nasdaq composite increased 78 points, or 1.4 percent, to 5,904.