Dow, S&P 500, Nasdaq at record highs, extending rally

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NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks finished at fresh records on Wednesday (Oct 11), as solid results from asset manager BlackRock and Delta Air Lines boosted hopes for another solid corporate earnings season.

All three major indices ended at records, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.2 per cent to 22,872.89, its second straight record.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.2 per cent to 2,555.24, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.3 per cent to 6,603.55.

The records are the latest since President Donald Trump's administration unveiled long-anticipated tax cut legislation last month.

The measures still face plenty of roadblocks in Washington, but Wall Street's rally suggests many investors still believe some version of the plan will become law.

Analysts have trimmed their earnings forecasts somewhat in recent weeks ahead of third-quarter reporting season following a string of major hurricanes.

But the market has taken heart from the relatively small number of companies that have warned that they would miss forecasts due to the storms, said Mike Bailey, director of research at FBB Capital Partners.

"You could argue that some of the hurricanes might have disrupted companies, but we would have expected those companies to issue profit warnings, and we have not seen a ton of them so far," Bailey said.

Delta Air Lines rose 0.7 per cent after reporting earnings per share of US$1.57, four cents above analyst expectations as the negative impact from US hurricanes was not as bad as feared.

Asset manager BlackRock jumped 1.9 per cent after reporting an 8.2 per cent rise in quarterly earnings to US$947 million as more investors poured money into exchange traded funds.

Large banks including JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America are set to report results in the coming days.

Also Wednesday, minutes from the Federal Reserve's September meeting showed "many participants" thought another increase in 2017 was "likely to be warranted".

"There is a vocal minority that wants to see inflation rise before hiking rates," Chris Low of FTN Financial said in a note to clients.

"But the majority continues to believe a tight labor market will produce inflation and the Fed must raise rates now (well, in December) to prevent inflation shooting well past 2 per cent."

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