This time of the year is not particularly conducive to major gains on Wall Street, yet Tuesday saw the major domestic equity indexes climb sharply as the three key indexes chalked up record closing highs, led by gains in this year’s top-performing technology sector.
The S&P 500 index reached a record closing high for the first time in about two weeks. Indexes posted losses last week as investors worried whether the tax plan in Washington will see progress.
Healthcare stocks were up after bullish results from medical device maker Medtronic, whose shares rose 4.8 percent after the company reported better-than-expected results and backed its full-year forecast.
The S&P technology index gained 1.2 percent, due primarily to a 1.9 percent rise in Apple. The index is now up 38.6 percent this year, well ahead of any other sector. The S&P 500 is up 16.1 percent for the year so far.
The CBOE Volatility index closed down 0.9 point at 9.73, its lowest close in more than two weeks.
With the third-quarter earnings season winding down and no major economic data in sight, trading activity slowed ahead of Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday.
The small-cap Russell 2000 index rose one percent and also hit a record closing high.
Goldman Sachs raised its earnings estimate for S&P 500 companies in 2018 and 2019 based on expectations of corporate tax reform, above-trend global and domestic economic growth and slowly rising interest rates from a low base.
Shares of Urban Outfitters gained 3.7 percent while Hormel Foods was up 3.4 percent. Both reported quarterly results.
Signet Jewelers fell 30.4 percent after reporting a surprise quarterly loss, pulling down Tiffany 0.8 percent.
Approximately 6.2 billion shares changed hands on the major domestic equity exchanges, as compared to the 6.8 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.