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Dow nears 20,000, Nasdaq hits record as tech stocks rise

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

Wall Street was higher on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average resuming its climb toward 20,000 and the Nasdaq hitting a record as technology and health stocks rose.

The blue-chip index has been riding on a post-election rally, feeding on optimism that President-elect Donald Trump’s plans for deregulation and infrastructure spending would bolster the economy.

The index, which came within 13 points of breaching the elusive 20,000 level last week, marked its seventh straight week of gains on Friday and is on track for its best quarter since 2013.

Nine of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, with technology .SPLRCT and healthcare stocks .SPXHC giving the broader index its biggest boost.

The defensive utilities .SPLRCU and telecom services .SPLRCL were the only losers.

“It is a bit of a catch-up rally today, with leadership today coming from areas such as healthcare and technology – those that have not participated fairly in the rally,” said Eric Wiegand, senior portfolio manager at the Private Client Reserve at U.S. Bank.

At 11:11 a.m. ET the Dow .DJI was up 34.08 points, or 0.17 percent, at 19,967.89, after rising to as much as 19,980.24. The S&P 500 .SPX was up 7.9 points, or 0.34 percent, at 2,271.69. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 38.74 points, or 0.71 percent, at 5,501.43, easing from its record intraday high of 5,512.36.

Apple (AAPL.O) was up 0.62 percent at $117.24 and was the top stock on the three main Wall Street indexes.

Amazon.com (AMZN.O) rose 1.7 percent to $773.33 after the online retailer said it shipped over one billion items to Prime members during the holiday season.

Biogen shares (BIIB.O) rose 2 percent to $293.28 after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday approved the company’s drug to treat spinal muscular atrophy, the leading genetic cause of death in infants.

Ionis Pharma (IONS.O), which discovered the drug licensed to Biogen, was up 5.5 percent at $56.36.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,959 to 865. On the Nasdaq, 1,853 issues rose and 834 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 20 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 124 new highs and 12 new lows.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

Reuters