S&P 500 nears record as US stocks gain

The Dow closed above 18,000 for the first time since April. Declines in the dollar lifted some commodity-related shares and boosted the outlook for multinationals.

NEW YORK (AFP) - The S&P 500 edged nearer to an all-time high on Wednesday as rising oil prices and the lower dollar lifted US stocks.

The S&P 500 climbed 0.3 per cent to 2,119.12, about 12 points from the all-time record set in May 2015.

Most energy stocks pushed higher, as oil prices climbed to fresh peaks for 2016 for the third straight day. Sentiment has also been boosted by a weaker dollar on expectations the US Federal Reserve will keep rates low.

"We have kind of a creep higher," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities. "It's a little bit of a no-news, light-trade rally."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.4 per cent at 18,005.05, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.3 per cent to 4,974.64.

Strong gold prices lifted mining stocks, with Freeport-McMoRan rising 3 per cent and Barrick Gold 2.1 per cent.

Yoga-attire maker Lululemon Athletica jumped 4.9 per cent after reporting better-than-expected first-quarter earnings on a 17 per cent gain in sales to US$495.5 million.

Restaurant and gaming chain Dave & Busters surged 10.3 per cent after announcing that first quarter earnings rose nearly 60 percent to US$31.2 million.

Southwest Airlines advanced 1 per cent as it announced that its planes ran at 85.8 per cent capacity in May, an increase from 84.4 per cent in the year-ago period. Southwest expects a modest jump in second-quarter revenue per seat mile, a closely watched benchmark.

Big-box retailer Target rose 0.6 per cent as it boosted its quarterly dividend by 7.1 per cent to 60 cents a share.