U.S. equities steadily pushed toward new record levels through February.

The stock markets inched higher at the start of the month as strength in employment and economic data helped pave the way for further growth.

However, optimism was pared by expectations of rising interest rates as the Federal Reserve expects to several rate hikes this year. Political risk, notably in the current European election cycle, also pressured market gains.

The markets gained momentum along with other risk assets mid-February after President Trump announced a major tax reform plan in the weeks ahead. Optimism over Trump’s potentially expansionary policies, including tax cuts, deregulation and fiscal spending, helped keep U.S. equities pushing toward record heights.

FOMC minutes from the January meeting also revealed that Federal Reserve officials weren’t quit ready to hike rates or talk about winding down balance sheets, helping the broader equities market to maintain its record run.

Markets, though, ended the month on a down note as traders waited on Trump’s speech later in the evening and some trimmed holdings in response to hawkish interest rate comments from Fed officials.

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