Wall Street surge continues, Nasdaq hits a record high

A street sign for Wall Street is seen outside the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan on Dec. 28

NEWS YORK – The Nasdaq hit a record intraday high on Tuesday, extending its bullish run as healthcare stocks rose for the sixth straight session, while banks helped the S&P 500 and the Dow reverse small losses. Investors are looking to the upcoming corporate earnings season to justify the record levels Wall Street has surged to in a rally sparked by Donald Trump’s U.S. presidential election win on Nov. 8. But, the rally has stalled of late given the lofty valuations and as investors now wait to see if Trump can deliver on his promises of fiscal stimulus. He is due to hold a news conference on Wednesday, his first since his election. “We’ve shifted from that exuberance post the election and the rotation into some of the sectors and now we are entering a wait-and-see mode with earnings knocking at the front door,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Equity Capital Markets in News York. “Earnings may be the pivot to move things higher.” S&P 500 companies look unlikely to disappoint. They are set to post their strongest quarterly growth in three years, with earnings estimated to have risen 5.8 percent in the fourth quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. At 11:03 a.m. ET (1603 GMT), the Dow was up 26.76 points, or 0.13 percent, at 19,914.14, resuming its march to the 20,000-point mark. The S&P 500 was up 3.87 points, or 0.17 percent, at 2,272.77. The Nasdaq Composite was up 14.34 points, or 0.26 percent, at 5,546.16, easing from a life high of 5,553.69. Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, led by gains of 0.69 percent in industrials. But the financials’ 0.66 percent jump gave the biggest boost. Big U.S. banks will kick off the earnings season, with JPMorgan, Bank of America and Wells Fargo scheduled to report on Friday. Bank of America and Wells Fargo were up about 1 percent. However, Goldman Sachs was down 0.6 percent after Citigroup rating cut due to lofty valuations. Healthcare stocks, up 0.44 percent, and biotechs , up 0.5 percent, were up for the sixth straight session. Illumina surged 16 percent to $163.64 after the diagnostics company gave a strong quarterly forecast and launched a new product. Valeant rose 7.7 percent following a deal to sell certain businesses and brands for about $2.12 billion, a move that it would help it lower its more than $30 billion debt. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,808 to 956. On the Nasdaq, 1,690 issues rose and 938 fell. The S&P 500 index showed three new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 37 new highs and 15 new lows.