Wall Street hits record highs as retailers post strong results

Reuters/Andrew Kelly/Files.

U.S. stocks hit record intraday highs on Tuesday amid gains across sectors as strong earnings from top retailers underscored the strength of the U.S. economy.

One in every six stocks on the S&P 500 hit a new 52-week high as a rally sparked by President Donald Trump’s promise of tax reforms shows no sign of fading despite concerns around valuations.

“There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the market has become over extended and is due for a pullback,” said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey.

“That said, when you have this kind of momentum, it is very hard to sit on the sidelines.”

In the one month of Trump’s presidency, the S&P 500 hit record intraday highs 10 times, gained 3.9 percent and surpassed $20 trillion in market capitalization.

Robust earnings have added to the momentum. Overall profit for S&P 500 companies is estimated to have risen 7.5 percent in the latest quarter – the biggest rise since the fourth quarter of 2014.

Wal-Mart’s shares provided the biggest boost to the Dow, rising 4 percent after the company reported higher-than-expected U.S. sales.

Department store bellwether Macy’s and home improvement chain Home Depot rose after the companies posted profits that topped estimates.

All 11 major S&P sectors were higher on Tuesday, led by a 1 percent gain in the energy index as oil prices rose.

At 11:01 a.m. ET (1601 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 112.22 points, or 0.54 percent, at 20,736.27, the S&P 500 was up 12.59 points, or 0.53 percent, at 2,363.75 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 21.51 points, or 0.37 percent, at 5,860.08.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen jumped 19 percent to $78.80 after Restaurant Brands agreed to acquire the quick-service restaurant chain for $1.8 billion.

Kraft Heinz shares were the top drag on the S&P, falling 3.3 percent after the company walked away from its $143 billion offer to buy Unilever, a day after the Anglo-Dutch company rejected the proposal. Unilever’s U.S.-listed shares were down 8.4 percent.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,054 to 797. On the Nasdaq, 1,570 issues rose and 1,128 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 83 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 184 new highs and 16 new lows.