US stocks notch new highs in broad rally

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Up, up and away.

That seems to be Wall Street’s theme song this year as US equities steadily march to new heights.

Stocks broadly advanced on Tuesday, with every major S&P 500 sector rising. Real estate, utilities and consumer staples led the charge, each increasing more than 1 per cent.

The S&P 500 ended the day up 0.6 per cent to 2,365.4, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed by the same margin to 20,743 and the Nasdaq Composite tacked on 0.5 per cent to 5,866. The small-cap Russell 2000 rallied by 0.75 per cent to 1,410.3.

Traders parsed a slate of corporate earnings reports. Walmart, the world’s biggest retailer, jumped 3 per cent after it disclosed better-than-expected US sales in the holiday quarter. Home Depot also rose after unveiling quarterly results that exceeded Wall Street estimates.

Investors also got a jolt of enthusiasm from rising oil prices. US crude oil zipped 1.2 per cent higher to settle at $54.06 a barrel — the highest settlement price of the year. Gold, on the other hand, slipped 0.2 per cent to $1,236.14 a troy ounce as investors shifted into riskier assets.

The US dollar climbed 0.5 per cent against a basket of six global currencies.

Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting are due out on Wednesday. They could prompt sharper movements from the buck as investors assess the likelihood that the central bank will increase interest rates in March.

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