Dow ends at record after briefly crossing 23,000 points

Dow ends at record after briefly crossing 23,000 points

NYSE 286
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

NEW YORK: The Dow edged to a fresh record on Tuesday (Oct 17), briefly topping 23,000 points for the first time, following a batch of mostly good earnings.

Big gains by health care companies Johnson & Johnson and United Healthcare following earnings led the blue-chip index to another record.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 40.48 points (0.18 per cent) to 22,997.44, after earlier hitting 23,002.20.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 1.72 points (0.07 per cent) to 2,559.36, also a record, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index lost 0.35 points (0.01 per cent) a hair at 6,623.36.

US stocks have broken numerous records since President Donald Trump last month released an outline of his tax cut plan. Other key factors behind the boom include relatively low interest rates and solid earnings.

Analysts described sentiment as modestly positive.

"Good earnings news was already priced in to the stocks and the broader market," said analyst Patrick O'Hare.

"The inference is that there isn't much selling pressure no matter the news, as market participants are holding fast to the supports of low interest rates, continued earnings growth, and the prospect of tax reform that is leading them to defer taking long-term capital gains."

United Healthcare shot up 5.6 per cent after lifting its full-year forecasts and pointing to broad-based growth throughout its insurance network.

Johnson & Johnson gained 3.5 per cent after reporting quarterly earnings of US$1.90 per share, 10 cents more than analyst expectations. The health company was also boosted by a US appeals court decision rejecting a US$72 million judgment against J&J on allegations that talcum powder contributed to cancer.

Boeing shed 0.4 per cent following news that archrival Airbus took a stake in an airliner program of Canadian plane manufacturer Bombardier that had been mired in a US-Canada trade dispute. Analysts said the tie-up would sharpen competition for Boeing in the narrow-body market.

Procter & Gamble slid 0.4 per cent after disclosing that preliminary vote results showed shareholders rejected activist Nelson Peltz's board election by a scant 0.2 per cent. Peltz' firm Trian said it would await the final results and that the outcome still can't be determined.

Netflix dropped 1.6 per cent despite reporting that quarterly profits jumped to US$129 million, more than double that of the year-ago period. The streaming company announced plans to boost spending on original content to US$7 billion to US$8 billion in 2018, up from US$6 billion in 2017.

Source: AFP/ec