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US: Dow, S&P 500, Nasdaq close at records, extending rally


[NEW YORK] US stocks powered to fresh records Thursday, with all three major indices posting new highs, after the European Central Bank extended its stimulus programme.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.3 per cent to close at 19,614.81, its fourth straight record.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.2 per cent to 2,246.19, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.4 per cent to 5,417.36.

The new records are a sign that bullish sentiment remains strong a month after the Republican sweep in the US election ushered in hopes of pro-growth policies from Washington.

Market voices on:

"I'm a little surprised there wasn't profit taking today," said Bill Lynch, director of investment at Hinsdale Associates. "I thought after yesterday's real good day, there would more downside, but we're holding our own here."

The ECB prolonged its bond-buying programme until December 2017 after it had been initially set to expire in March. But the central bank said it would trim purchases to 60 billion euros (S$90.6 billion) a month in March from 80 billion euros.

Banking shares continued to post outsized gains, with Bank of America winning 1.7 per cent, Citigroup 1.9 per cent and Goldman Sachs 2.5 per cent.

Costco Wholesale advanced 2.4 per cent as earnings for the quarter ending November 20 rose 13.5 per cent to US$545 million. Analysts said the results suggested the big-box retailer was succeeding in a transition in credit cards to Citigroup from American Express.

Express Scripts plunged 6.6 per cent after it was targeted by short seller Citron Research, which accused it on Twitter of price gouging and called on Trump to take action against the pharmacy benefit manager.

Las Vegas Sands and dived 12.8 per cent and Wynn Resorts 11.1 per cent following reports that China will limit ATM withdrawals in the gambling market.