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US: Stocks finish at all-time highs


[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks finished at fresh records on Thursday behind gains in industrial and petroleum-linked equities, resuming their upward climb after a one-day pullback.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 25,574.73, up 0.8 per cent.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.7 per cent to 2,767.56, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.8 per cent to 7,211.78.

Thursday's rally was prompted in part by higher oil prices, which boosted petroleum-linked equities. Investors are also keen for the upcoming earnings season, which kicks off Friday with reports from JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.

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But analysts said the gains also reflected the market's underlying bullishness after a sweeping US tax cut was enacted in December.

That dynamic means investors are eager to jump in and buy at the least sign of weakness, such as Wednesday, when all three indices fell for the first time all year.

"The path of least resistance is still up," said Maris Ogg of Towers Bridge Advisors.

Oil-linked shares with big gains included Dow member Chevron, up 3.1 per cent, Apache, up 4.7 per cent and Schlumberger, up 1.9 per cent.

Industrial companies that advanced included Dow members Caterpillar and Boeing which won 2.0 and 2.4 per cent and Cummins, which advanced 1.9 per cent.

Delta Air Lines surged 4.8 per cent after reporting fourth-quarter earnings of 96 cents per share, eight cents above analyst expectations. American Airlines and United Continental also pushed sharply higher.


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