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On a tear, Dow closes above 19,000 mark for first time

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MoneyWatch headlines 01:04

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, on a record-breaking tear, closed above 19,000 points for the first time on Tuesday.

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The Dow has set records since Donald Trump won the presidency two weeks ago, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq stock indexes also reaching highs. In addition, small-company stocks, tracked by the Russell 2000 index, have hit record levels, as traders bet that President-elect Trump’s U.S.-centric approach would benefit smaller companies more than large U.S. multinationals. 

The Dow gained 67 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 19,024. The S&P 500 rose 5 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,203, while the Nasdaq composite index added 17 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,387.

“The market was like a coiled spring around the election, with a lot of investor angst,” said James Russell, principal and portfolio manager at investment firm Bahl & Gaynor in Cincinnati. “This is a relief rally, and there’s momentum” to propel it further.

Food producers Campbell Soup (CPB) and Hormel Foods (HRC) traded higher after each reported strong quarterly results, and discount store chains Dollar Tree (DLTR) and Burlington Stores (BURL) were climbing after raising their forecasts.

Campbell’s profit in its fiscal first quarter was better than expected thanks to lower expenses and improved sales for food brands like Pepperidge Farm. Hormel, the maker of Spam, reported better results from its refrigerated foods business and its Jennie-O turkey unit. Hormel also gave solid guidance for the current fiscal year. 

While the S&P 500 is at record highs, only one of its 11 industry sectors is doing the same. That’s the industrial sector, which includes companies that make aircraft and engines, run railroads, and make other equipment. That index is up 5.6 percent since the election, about twice as much as the broader market, and has risen 15 percent this year. Aerospace and defense companies including Boeing (BA), Lockheed Martin (LMT) and Northrop Grumman (NOC) were trading around record highs before the election and have continued to rise since then.

Oil’s price recovery is a big help for the market. Investors are wagering that OPEC members will soon cut a deal that would reduce oil production, a boon to prices. The dollar was little changed. It slipped Monday but has been trading around 13-year highs. 

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