Nasdaq ends above 6,000 for 1st time as US stocks rally again

Nasdaq hit a record high, while the Dow and S&P 500 brushed against recent peaks as strong earnings underscored the health of corporate America.VIDEO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - The Nasdaq closed above 6,000 for the first time on Tuesday (April 25) following a round of mostly strong corporate earnings and ahead of the White House’s long-awaited tax cut announcement Wednesday.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.7 per cent to finish the day at 6,025.49, its second straight record close.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 1.1 per cent to end the day at 20,996.12, while the S&P 500 rose 0.6 per cent to 2,388.61.

Sentiment already was upbeat heading into Tuesday’s session on increased confidence that market-friendly centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron will win the French presidential election runoff May 7.

Analysts also have been heartened by talk in recent days from the White House touting news of a long-awaited tax cut plan, with President Donald Trump expected to release details on Wednesday.

But earnings also were a factor in the rally, with three Dow members posting strong advances after reporting solid earnings. Industrial giant Caterpillar surged 7.9 per cent, DuPont 3.6 per cent and McDonald’s 5.6 per cent.

Netflix rose 5.8 per cent on reports that it struck a licensing deal with a unit of China’s Baidu to be able to stream content in the world’s second biggest economy.

Pharmacy benefits company Express Scripts slumped 10.8 per cent as it signaled it will likely lose health insurer Anthem as a client in the wake of litigation between the two companies.

Biotech company Biogen jumped 3.6 per cent after reporting earnings of US$5.20 per share, better than the US$5.00 expected by analysts. Sales of its muscular atrophy drug Spinraza were better than many analysts expected.

Other biotech shares were also were strong, including Celgene, which rose 1.9 per cent and Gilead Sciences, which won 1.3 per cent.