The benchmark S&P 500 touched a record high on Tuesday and equaled its longest-ever bull-market run, as shares rose on earnings reports in the consumer sector and there remained somewhat of a relative calm in the trade dispute between the United States and China.
The S&P 500 index rose as much as 0.6 percent to a record intraday high of 2,873.23 points, exceeding its previous record high of 2,872.87 on Jan. 26, though it closed below both those marks.
The index’s bull-market run is now 3,452 days old and on Wednesday would become the longest such streak in history, at least for some market watchers.
Trade-sensitive industrial stocks rose for the fourth consecutive session as investors remained optimistic that the United States and China could move closer to settling their trade dispute. The S&P 500 industrial index rose 0.8 percent.
The S&P consumer discretionary index climbed 0.9 percent as shares of off-price retailer TJX Companies Inc (TJX.N) rose on strong results and Toll Brothers Inc’s (TOL.N) encouraging quarterly report boosted shares of homebuilders.
The small-cap Russell 2000 index, which is less affected by global tariff disputes than its large-cap peers, ended the session up 1.1 percent at a record closing high.
The S&P 500 energy index rose 0.5 percent and the S&P 500 materials index gained 0.4 percent, in tandem with higher prices for oil and metals.
Helping commodity prices was a decline in the dollar.
The criticism came ahead of the release of the Fed’s minutes of its August policy meeting on Wednesday, which is expected to reaffirm its confidence in the U.S. economy and its commitment to future rate hikes.
Toll Brothers gained 13.8 percent after the homebuilder reported better-than-expected quarterly results. Shares of its industry peers PulteGroup, Lennar and D.R. Horton also rose between 3.8 percent and 5.5 percent.
TJX shares closed out the trading day with a gain of 4.7 percent, chalking up a record closing high, after the company exceeded quarterly comparable-store sales estimates and raised its full-year earnings forecast.
Coty fell 7.1 percent after the beauty products maker missed sales estimates for the first time in six quarters.
Approximately 5.86 billion shares changed hands on the major domestic equity exchanges, as compared to the 6.49 billion share average over the past 20 trading days.
S&P 500 Index Back in Record Territory
After a seven-month stall, Wall Street’s bull market looks back on track, thanks to Amazon, Alphabet and other high-flying technology and consumer discretionary companies.
The widely followed S&P 500 index rose as much as 0.57 percent on Tuesday to a high of 2,873.23, putting it above its previous record high of 2,872.87 on Jan. 26. Supported by quarterly earnings reports and a rise in stock buybacks, the benchmark S&P 500 has gained over 2 percent in the past month. However, the index closed out the day at 2,862.96.
When the S&P 500 closes above the January high, it would mean that the benchmark index ended a correction that began on February 8.
Confirmation that the bull run remains alive comes on the day the S&P 500 matches its longest rally in history, 3,452 days between November 1990 and March 2000, according to S&P Dow Jones indices. On Wednesday, it could claim the title of longest ever.
Following its January high, the S&P 500 fell 10.2 percent over two weeks, just meeting the so-called definition of a market correction and raising fears that nearly a decade of gains on Wall Street might be over.
Since then, Wall Street has splintered: Small caps gained substantial ground due to deep corporate tax cuts, while companies exposed to global trade have underperformed, in part because of Trump’s feud with China and other trading partners over import tariffs.
After steep drops in February and March, the S&P 500 inched slowly back toward record highs as sweeping tax cuts sent earnings sharply higher and provided cash for companies to buy back more of their shares and invest in new capital.
Nearly 80 percent of S&P 500 companies reported June-quarter earnings per share above Wall Street’s estimates, compared to a 64 percent beat rate in a typical year, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Fueled by Amazon, Microsoft, Alphabet and other high-growth tech and consumer stocks, the Nasdaq is up 14 percent in 2018, far outperforming the S&P 500’s 7 percent rise.
The Russell 2000 index of small companies hit its own record highs on Tuesday, while the S&P 500 materials sector this year has lost 2 percent.
The S&P 500 has been trending higher since early 2009, providing a gain of over 300 percent for anyone who stayed the course.