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US: Dow, S&P 500, Nasdaq all close at records again

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks bulldozed to fresh records yet again on Friday, with all three major indices jumping to new highs for the second straight session.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 0.7 per cent higher to 19,756.85, closing in on the 20,000 threshold and adding another to a string of record closes.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.6 per cent to 2,259.53, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 0.5 per cent to 5,444.50.

"The enthusiasm force is still very much alive," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial.

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Stocks have been on a tear since the Republican sweep in the November 8 US elections which raised hopes of pro-growth policies out of Washington. analyst Patrick O'Hare said optimism about a new era "has unleashed a rush of animal spirits that hasn't been seen in some time."

Momentum has accelerated this week, with relatively little US economic data or corporate news to rattle the positive sentiment, analysts said.

Pharmaceutical shares rallied, with Dow members Pfizer and Merck winning 2.5 per cent and 1.9 per cent and biotech Amgen 2.0 per cent.

Large technology companies were also strong. Apple and Microsoft both gained 1.6 per cent and Google parent Alphabet 1.7 per cent.

Coca-Cola jumped 2.5 per cent as it announced that Muhtar Kent will step down as chief executive in May to be replaced by president and chief operating officer James Quincey.

21st Century Fox dropped 2.0 per cent on news it reached a preliminary agreement to acquire the remaining stake in Sky for 10.75 pounds per share. Fox said key items are still under discussion and there is no guarantee the transaction will be finalised.