Dow and Nasdaq hit record highs

Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite hit record levels at the open on Tuesday, while the S&P 500 was less than five points away from hitting another all-time high.

Investors are assessing corporate earnings to see if stock valuations are justified after a post-election rally drove US equities to record highs.

Fourth-quarter earnings are estimated to have risen 8.1 per cent - the best in nine quarters.

“We’re a stone’s throw away from all-time highs and the market has been sitting in a relatively tight range, looking for a fresh theme to commit capital,” said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

While Trump has promised tax cuts and higher infrastructure spending, the lack of detail and his isolationist stance have kept investors cautious. The S&P 500 index has not moved more than 1 per cent in either direction since December 7th.

A report from the US Commerce Department showed trade deficit fell more than expected in December as exports rose to their highest level in more than 18 months, outpacing an increase in imports.