Dow closes above 26,000 for first time

New York: US stocks closed higher with the Dow closing above 26,000 for the first time, following the release of stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings reports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wednesday added 322.79 points, or 1.25 per cent, to 26,115.65, Xinhua news agency reported.

The S&P 500 increased 26.14 points, or 0.94 per cent, to 2,802.56. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 74.59 points, or 1.03 per cent, to 7,298.28.

Earnings season is off to a strong start thus far. According to financial research company FactSet, of the S&P 500 companies that had reported as of Friday, 69 per cent have surpassed earnings-per-share estimates while 85 per cent have beaten expectations on the top line.

Bank of America Wednesday reported adjusted earnings per share of $0.47 for the fourth quarter this year, beating market expectations of $0.44.

Citigroup on Tuesday reported adjusted earnings per share of $1.28 for the fourth quarter of 2017, beating market expectations $1.19.

Meanwhile, tech stocks got a boost from Apple, which erased losses after announcing plans to contribute to the US economy. The company said it will make a 350 billion dollar contribution to the US economy over the next five years. It promised to create 20,000 new jobs and open a new campus.Apple’ s stock closed 1.7 per cent higher.

Investors also looked at the newly-released Federal Reserve survey about fundamentals for the US economy.

US economy continued modest to moderate growth pace in late November through the start of 2018, with tight labor market but modest wage growth, according to the survey known as the Beige Book.

“The outlook for 2018 remains optimistic for a majority of contacts across the country,” the report said, noting most manufacturers reported modest growth in overall business conditions.

Wednesday’s report comes before the Fed’s next policy meeting on January 30-31. Analysts said the central bank would leave its benchmark interest rates unchanged at this meeting as US inflation remains subdued.