The Dow Jones Industrial Average reached another a record high on Tuesday, helped by a rise in the shares of Wal-Mart, while Amazon and Facebook lost ground and investors focused on upcoming quarterly reports.
Wal-Mart rose 4.47 percent to a two-year high after forecasting U.S. online sales would increase by about 40 percent in the next fiscal year and unveiling a $20-billion share buyback.
That helped the S&P 500 consumer staples index rise 0.99 percent, although gains in that sector were limited by P&G, down 0.54 percent after activist investor Nelson Peltz unexpectedly failed in his bid to win a board seat.
Third-quarter corporate reporting season kicks into high gear on Thursday with results from JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup. With the S&P 500 up 14 percent in 2017, investors are betting on strong earnings growth across the S&P 500.
Wall Street has mostly shrugged off recent saber-rattling between the United States and North Korea, as well as a lack of progress by President Donald Trump in delivering promised corporate tax cuts.
The technology sector index, the best performing among the 11 major S&P sectors this year, was mostly unchanged, with Facebook falling 0.53 percent and Nvidia adding 1.91 percent after unveiling chips for autonomous vehicles, bringing its gain over the past year to 182 percent.
American Airlines closed up with a gain of 4.80 percent, while United Continental rose 4.67 percent after the two airlines gave encouraging third-quarter forecasts. Delta, which reports on Wednesday, rose 1.85 percent.
The energy sector index received help from a near 2-percent rise in oil prices supported by Saudi Arabian export cuts in November and comments from OPEC and trading companies that the market is rebalancing after years of oversupply.
Approximately 5.6 billion shares changed hands on the major domestic equity exchanges, a number that was well below the 6.1 billion share daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.