NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Gains in financial stocks pushed the Dow to a record high and just 20 points short of 20,000, a level it has never touched.
Goldman Sachs, which was up 2.2 per cent, gave the biggest boost to the blue-chip index.
Wall Street extended a recent rally on Monday but finished the session short of earlier highs as risk aversion set in following the killing of Russian ambassador to Turkey in Ankara and a truck attack in Germany.
"2016 is ending with tragic incidents in Turkey and Germany, but investors have become so fast in digesting bad news, and this explains the resilience in financial markets," said Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM.
US stocks have been on a tear since the Nov. 8 presidential election, with the S&P rising nearly 6 per cent on bets that President-elect Donald Trump's plans for deregulation and infrastructure spending will boost the economy.
"We're looking at a higher opening today but the lack of any major economic news and the fact that market shrugged off Monday's events means stocks will drift in an upwards trend,"said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.
At 9:42 a.m. ET (10:42 p.m Singapore time) the Dow Jones industrial average was up 87.78 points, or 0.44 per cent, at 19,970.84. The S&P 500 was up 8.26 points, or 0.36 per cent, at 2,270.79. The Nasdaq Composite was up 24.33 points, or 0.45 per cent, at 5,481.78.
Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with the financial index's 0.87 per cent rise leading the advancers.
Oil prices edged higher on forecasts of a steep draw in US crude oil stocks that could indicate a global oversupply is starting to shrink.
The US dollar hit a 14-year high as the yen fell after the Bank of Japan stuck to its ultra-loose monetary policy and the euro weakened following deadly attacks in Germany and Turkey.