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US: Dow posts first close above 26,000 amid Wall Street records


[NEW YORK] Wall Street roared upwards on Wednesday, with investor enthusiasm sending all three major stock indices to record finishes, and the Dow to its first close above 26,000 points.

The blue-chip Dow gained 1.3 per cent to close at 26,115.65 - just eight trading sessions after breaking the 25,000 mark - with strong showings from Boeing, IBM and Intel.

The broader S&P 500 added 0.9 per cent to close at 2,802.56, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained a full percentage point to settle at 7,298.28.

With just 11 trading days so far in 2018, Thursday's session marked the seventh time this year all three major indices closed all-time highs.

Maris Ogg of Tower Bridge Associates told AFP the sustained rally was boosted by a "confluence of good news," including strong company earnings, slashed corporate tax rates, higher worker compensation and new investment.

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"This is a boost for productivity," and gave market players greater confidence, she said.

IBM gained 2.9 per cent after analysts upgraded their price target for the company's stock, and chipmaker Intel rose a similar amount, while aviation giant Boeing jumped 4.7 per cent after announcing a joint venture to make aircraft seats.

Buoyant markets were comforted in midafternoon as a Federal Reserve survey portrayed the national economy growing at a "modest to moderate" pace.

Persistent cold weather in the United States helped oil prices shrug off weakness early in the weak, helping oil stocks nudge markets higher.

Exxon Mobil rose 1.2 per cent, and ConocoPhillips increased 1.7 per cent, while Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron each rose 0.3 per cent.

The jubilant performance came despite continued pain at General Electric, which sank 4.7 per cent as investors worked to evaluate component businesses within the company ahead of a possible breakup.

Goldman Sachs fell 1.8 per cent after reporting a steep quarterly drop in trading income.


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