NEW YORK – The Dow finished above 20,000 points for the first time on Wednesday, after breaching the milestone at the open, extending a stock rally that followed US President Donald Trump’s election, which sparked hopes of pro-growth policies.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 155.80 points (0.78 per cent) to 20,068.51.

The broad-based S&P 500 also rose 18.30 points (0.80 per cent) to 2,298.37, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 55.38 points (0.99 per cent) to 5,656.34, both new records.

US stocks rose sharply after the election, although they had stalled from mid-December to this week. Analysts said the shift was triggered by Trump’s announcements on Tuesday to advance two major pipeline projects that had been blocked by former president Barack Obama.

Investors are betting that Trump will usher in a pro-growth agenda that includes tax cuts, and avoid pitfalls, such as starting a trade war.

“I think, in general the market is saying maybe he will get something done in particular as it relates to tax reductions and possibly even economic stimulus,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at research firm CFRA.” “I think people are feeling encouraged by his actions to date.”

Beyond the Trump effect, Wednesday’s records came on a busy day for earnings that included better-than-expected results from Boeing, which shot up 4.2 per cent to make it the biggest gainer in the blue-chip index.

Caterpillar rose 2.0 per cent and Apple 1.6 per cent ahead of their earnings releases in the coming days.

Financial stocks, big winners since Trump’s election, also climbed, with JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs both up about 1.5 per cent.