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US: Dow, S&P 500 end at records following strong earnings


[NEW YORK] The Dow and S&P 500 finished at records Thursday following mostly strong earnings, while the tech-rich Nasdaq again slipped as market insiders debated whether the rally is losing steam.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.5 per cent to end at 26,392.79, its second straight record close.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.1 per cent at 2,839.25, eking out a record by a fraction of a point, but the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index was down for the second day, dipping 0.1 per cent to 7,411.16.

Solid earnings from Dow members 3M and Caterpillar lifted shares of those companies, and other strong blue chips included Boeing, Goldman Sachs and United Technologies.

Generally positive outlooks from companies have extended the Wall Street rally begun in the wake the US tax cuts passed in December. But some question whether the market can go much higher.

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"New highs are always welcome, but there is a growing chorus among strategists and technicians stating that the stock market might be getting a little bit ahead of itself," said Gorilla Trades market strategist Ken Berman.

Still, some analysts see more running room for stocks given that investors have for more than a year reliably stepped in to buy at each pullback.

Apple fell for a second straight day, losing 1.8 per cent, but other large technology companies advanced, including Amazon and Facebook.

Ford slumped 3.9 per cent after forecasting 2018 profits of between US$1.45 and US$1.70 per share, a low range compared with analyst expectations for US$1.62 per share. Analysts pressed executives for details to boost profitability.

Airlines were under pressure for a second day in a row despite solid earnings from Southwest Airlines and American Airlines.

Those carriers, along with Delta Air Lines and United Continental, all fell more than three percent on worries that excess flight capacity could spark an airfare war.


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