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

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[NEW YORK] Health and banking shares were among the big gainers on Tuesday as the three major US stock indexes once again finished at new records ahead of key earnings reports later in the week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the day 0.4 per cent higher at 25,385.80.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.1 per cent to end at 2,751.29, and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index also advanced 0.1 per cent to 7,163.58, marking the sixth straight day of record closes for these indexes.

Wall Street stocks have been on a roll since early December as Congress mobilised behind a US tax cut plan that President Donald Trump signed into law just before Christmas.

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Better US and global economic data also propelled markets higher.

Investors appeared to waiver a bit on Monday with the Dow falling for the first time in 2018, but bullish sentiment ruled the day again on Tuesday.

"We are beginning to see the 'fear of missing out' mindset," said Sam Stovall, CFRA Research's chief investment strategist. "Investors are taking their money and throwing it at stocks."

JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, which kick off earnings on Friday, saw their shares rise, along with Bank of America and other financial heavyweights.

Other winners included biotech company Gilead Sciences, which climbed 5.0 per cent, pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts gained 4.4 per cent, and genetic analysis company Illumina surged 6.9 per cent.

Dow member Boeing gained 2.7 per cent after reporting record commercial plane deliveries in 2017 and a 36.5 per cent rise in new orders. Executives also offered a bullish outlook on the airplane market for 2018.

But fellow Dow member Intel slumped 2.5 per cent on continued worries about a recently discovered vulnerability in computer chips.

Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich in a Monday night address at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas said the impact of the problem has been limited due to "remarkable" collaboration by the tech industry.

AFP