S&P 500 hits record high, equals longest bull-run

The benchmark S&P 500 touched a record high on Tuesday and equalled its longest-ever bull-market run, as U.S. stocks rose on encouraging earnings reports and hopes that the United States and China could resolve their tariff dispute.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., August 21, 2018. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

The benchmark S&P 500 touched a record high on Tuesday and equaled its longest-ever bull-market run, as U.S. stocks rose on earnings reports in the consumer sector and relative calm in the trade dispute between the United States and China.

The S&P rose as much as 0.6 per cent to a record intraday high of 2,873.23 points, topping its previous record high of 2,872.87 on Jan. 26, though it closed below both those marks.

The index's bull-market run is now 3,452 days old and on Wednesday would become the longest such streak in history, at least for some market watchers.

Trade-sensitive industrial stocks rose for the fourth consecutive session as investors remained optimistic that the United States and China could move closer to settling their trade dispute. The S&P 500 industrial index rose 0.8 per cent.

The S&P consumer discretionary index climbed 0.9 per cent as shares of off-price retailer TJX Companies Inc rose on strong results and Toll Brothers Inc's encouraging quarterly report boosted shares of homebuilders.

"We've got good momentum, which is fundamentally justified by the strong economy and better earnings," said Kevin Caron, senior portfolio manager at Washington Crossing Advisors in Florham Park, N.J. "Investors still seem relatively optimistic about growth, and you're seeing that expressed in the market today."

The Charging Bull statue, also known as the Wall St. Bull, is seen in the financial district of New York City in this Aug. 18, 2018 photo. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 63.6 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 25,822.29, the S&P 500 gained 5.91 points, or 0.21 per cent, to 2,862.96 and the Nasdaq Composite added 38.17 points, or 0.49 per cent, to 7,859.17.

The small-cap Russell 2000 index, which is less affected by global tariff disputes than its large-cap peers, ended the session up 1.1 per cent at a record closing high.

The S&P 500 energy index rose 0.5 per cent and the S&P 500 materials index gained 0.4 per cent, in tandem with higher prices for oil and metals.

Helping commodity prices was a drop in the dollar after President Donald Trump said he was "not thrilled" with the Federal Reserve for raising rates and that the central bank should do more to help him boost the economy.

The criticism came ahead of the release of the Fed's minutes of its August policy meeting on Wednesday, which is expected to reaffirm its confidence in the U.S. economy and its commitment to future rate hikes.

Toll Brothers shares jumped 13.8 per cent after the homebuilder reported better-than-expected quarterly results. Shares of its industry peers PulteGroup, Lennar and D.R. Horton also rose between 3.8 per cent and 5.5 per cent.

TJX shares climbed 4.7 per cent, ending the session at a record closing high, after the retailer topped quarterly comparable-store sales estimates and raised its full-year earnings forecast.

But shares of Coty Inc tumbled 7.1 per cent after the beauty products maker missed sales estimates for the first time in six quarters.

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