US stocks add to records after solid retail earnings

A statue of George Washington overlooks the New York Stock Exchange in New York on Feb 16, 2017.
A statue of George Washington overlooks the New York Stock Exchange in New York on Feb 16, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks rose early Tuesday, adding to records, as solid holiday-quarter earnings from Wal-Mart Stores and Home Depot lifted retailers.

On the first session of the holiday-shortened week, Wal-Mart jumped 2.7 per cent after reporting a 1.8 per cent gain in fourth-quarter comparable sales at US stores.

Home Depot gained 1.0 per cent after reporting an 18.6 per cent jump in fourth-quarter earnings. That good news pushed other retailers higher as well, including Best Buy, Target and Gap.

About 10 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 20,690.62, up 0.3 per cent. The broad-based S&P 500 also rose 0.3 per cent to 2,357.85, as did the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index which was up to 5,855.36.

US stocks finished last week at records for all three equity indices as optimism over President Donald Trump's promises for tax cuts offset uncertainty about his ability to advance them in Washington.

"Once again, there is plenty of media attention on policy uncertainty, but once again, the stock market continues to treat it all as just background noise and continues to act as if it will all get worked out in a favorable fashion," said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare.

Macy's was another retailer to gain, winning 1.2 per cent as it reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings, despite suffering a 2.7 per cent drop in comparable sales. Unilever lost 8.2 per cent and Kraft Heinz 4.5 in the first session since Kraft Heinz withdrew its bid for the Unilever over the weekend.

US stock markets were closed Monday for the Presidents' Day holiday.