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Last Week: Review -- Barron's

25 Feb 2017 11:00 am

Markets March Higher

Equity markets continued their march to records, helped by positive earnings and comments from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on tax reform. The Dow Jones industrials put up its longest record streak since the beginning of 1987. On the week, the DJIA rose 0.96% to 20822, the Standard & Poor's 500 0.69% to 2,367, and the Nasdaq 0.12% to 5,845.

Acclaimed Appointee

President Donald Trump named an active-duty army general, H.R. McMaster, as his new national security adviser, to replace Michael Flynn. The general, a military strategist with extensive battle experience, won praise in Washington.

Any Day Now

Minutes of the Federal Reserve's last meeting showed officials anticipated raising short-term interest rates "fairly soon." They cited an improving economy and the possibility of Trump's policies fueling inflation. Some said it might be appropriate to move "potentially at an upcoming meeting." The Fed meets again in mid-March.

Deportation Rules Tightened

The Trump administration issued rules to more aggressively enforce immigration laws. Nearly everyone living in the U.S. illegally is subject to deportation. A plan to send border-crossers to Mexico to await hearings was challenged by Mexico.

Tax Overhaul Goal

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said the administration is working with House and Senate Republicans to craft tax policy aiming to pass major legislation before the August recess. He also said the Trump administration is aiming for sustained 3% or higher economic growth.

The M&A Scene

Kraft Heinz withdrew its $143 billion offer for Unilever, after the latter made clear it didn't want to pursue a merger. And Verizon Communications lowered the price on its purchase of Yahoo! by $350 million, a result of the latter's data-breach disclosure.

Retail Retort

Wal-Mart Stores and Home Depot bucked retailers' slump, reporting strong sales over the holiday season. Wal-Mart's fourth-quarter sales in stores open at least 12 months rose 1.8%, the 10th consecutive quarter of gains. Home Depot's same-store sales gained 5.8%.

A Distant Discovery

Astronomers found seven planets orbiting a tiny star that is about 40 light years away from Earth, with some of them appearing warm enough that water--necessary for life--could exist there.

Icahn Moves on Drug Firm

Carl Icahn took a stake in Bristol-Meyers Squibb, the second big activist to pressure the company after a cancer drug disappointed. Also, Bristol announced it would add three directors and buy back $2 billion of stock in a deal with the other activist, Jana Partners.

Against Anti-Semitism

President Trump spoke out against anti-Semitism, amid increasing calls for him to take note of a rash of bomb threats against Jewish community centers and the vandalization of a Jewish cemetery.

In Brief

-- Existing home sales rose to their highest pace in a decade.

-- Carlos Goshn is stepping down as CEO of Nissan Motor.

-- China changed its economic team.

He Said:

"If you want to preserve democracy...you have to have a free and many times adversarial press. Without it, we would lose...much of our individual liberties."

Sen. John McCain on Trump's attacks on the media.

The Numbers

This year is going like gangbusters for global initial public offerings, says Thomson Reuters

156: Number of IPOs globally this year through February 21

74: Number of global IPOs this time last year

$13.1 billion: proceeds raised from U.S. IPOs this year

122%: increase in proceeds from U.S. IPOs from last year

69: Number of IPOs in China, the most of any nation so far this year

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 25, 2017 06:00 ET (11:00 GMT)

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