Dow, S&P 500 close at fresh records

 Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, July 18, 2016.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, July 18, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Strong gains by large tech companies and some banks lifted the Dow and S&P 500 to fresh records Monday, extending a three week rally.

Bank of America led financial stocks higher, jumping 3.3 per cent after reporting earnings that bested expectations and pledging to cut billions in annual expenses.

Technology shares also advanced, with Apple gaining 1.1 per cent, Google parent Alphabet 2.4 per cent, Facebook 2.2 per cent and Twitter 3.2 per cent.

“The rally seems to want to continue,” said Mace Blicksilver, director of Marblehead Asset Management.

“Between the terrorism and the tensions in Turkey, there’s a lot of negatives,” he said. “But central banks are pumping liquidity in and, as we’ve seen from the last few days, that is going into stocks.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.1 per cent to 18,533.05 to notch its fifth straight record.

The broad-based S&P 500 added 0.2 per cent at 2,166.89, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.5 per cent to 5,055.78.

Dow member Merck fell 1.0 per cent after it was downgraded by BMO Capital Markets, citing pricing pressures of some medicines and headline risk due to US elections that could focus on high drug prices.

Toymaker Hasbro sank 6.6 per cent despite reporting that second-quarter earnings rose 25 per cent to US$52.1 million (S$70 million). Morningstar said the results were solid, but that shares are fully valued.