DOW CLOSES IN ON 20,000 IN SUPER BULL RUN

U.S. stocks reached all-time highs on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones industrial average less than 100 points away from the 20,000 mark, as a record-setting post-election rally showed no signs of fatigue.

All the three major indexes hit record highs shortly after the open. The Dow has risen about 8.6 percent since Nov.8, with President-elect Donald Trump’s expected agenda of economic stimulus and reduced taxes and regulations fueling the rally.

The sharp run has also been supported by positive economic data, including a strong labor market, and S&P 500 companies’ results, which in the third quarter were poised to snap a year-long earnings recession.

“The macro and fundamental background are favorable for stocks, and we expect equities to trend higher as we head into 2017,” said Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.

“Investors are encouraged by expectations that Trump and a GOP-controlled Congress will enact pro-growth policies and we’re seeing modest inflation creep in, while housing remains stable and wages continue to firm.”

Market participants are also keeping a close watch on the Federal Reserve’s two-day meeting, starting today, where the central bank is widely expected to lift interest rates for the second time since the financial crisis.

A hike of 25 basis points in the Fed’s target range of 0.25-0.50 percent is priced in, but investors will be examining the Fed’s statement and economic forecasts for signs of the central bank’s thinking on how Trump’s election has affected the outlook for growth and inflation.

Still, there are some concerns over valuations. The S&P 500 is trading near 17.7 times forward 12-month earnings, above the 10-year median of 14.7 times, according to StarMine data.

“Valuations are elevated at the moment and we know that the pace that equities are advancing at won’t be sustainable unless earnings continue to grow,” said Sandven.

At 12:34 p.m. ET the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was up 106.63 points, or 0.54 percent, at 19,903.06, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 15.22 points, or 0.67 percent, at 2,272.18 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 62.83 points, or 1.16 percent, at 5,475.37.

Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with the technology index’s .SPLRCT 1.61 percent jump leading the advancers. The index fell 0.5 percent on Monday after posting its largest weekly advance in a year last week.

Apple (AAPL.O) was up 2.1 percent and provided the biggest support to the S&P and Nasdaq, while IBM (IBM.N) rose 2.3 percent, helping lift the Dow.

Inovalon Holdings (INOV.O) fell as much as 37.7 percent to a life-low of $9.52 after the healthcare data analytics company’s fourth-quarter revenue forecast came in below expectations.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,719 to 1,149. On the Nasdaq, 1,612 issues rose and 1,175 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 32 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 152 new highs and 29 new lows.

REUTERS

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