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Nasdaq hits 6 000 for the first time

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New York - The Nasdaq hit 6000 for the first time on Tuesday and the Dow surged more than 200 points as strong earnings underscored the health of corporate America.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose as much as 0.65 percent to hit a record level of 6 022.65, powered by gains in index heavyweights Apple and Microsoft.

The index had breached the 5 000 mark on March 7, 2000 and closed above that level two days later during the height of the tech boom.

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Electronic screens display stock index values at the Nasdaq MarketSite, Tuesday, April 25, 2017, in New York. The Nasdaq Composite rose above 6,000 Tuesday, a record high. AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Yesterday’s gains build on a day-earlier rally driven by the victory of centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron in the first round of the French presidential elections. Polls show Macron is likely to beat his far-right rival Marine Le Pen in a deciding vote on May 7.

“Political headlines in Europe don’t tend to stick, but create buying opportunities more than having long-term consequences,” said Stephen Wood, chief market strategist at Russell Investments.

Investors are keeping a close watch on the latest earnings season, hoping that companies will justify their lofty valuations, spurred in part by President Donald Trump’s pro-growth promises.

Overall profits of S&P 500 companies are estimated to have risen 11percent in the first quarter - the most since 2011, according to Reuters.

Trump, who had promised to make “a big tax reform” announcement today, has directed his aides to move quickly on a plan to cut the corporate income-tax rate to 15percent from 35percent, a Trump administration official said on Monday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 222.74 points or 1.07percent at 20986.63, the S&P 500 was up 12.79 points or 0.54percent at 2386.94 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 29.65 points or 0.5percent, at 6013.47.

Better-than-expected profits at McDonald’s and Caterpillar helped the Dow outperform other major Wall Street indexes.

Gains on the S&P were broad-based. Ten of its 11 major sectors were higher. DuPont’s 3percent increase, following a profit beat, helped the materials sector notch the most gains.

Biogen’s shares jumped more than 4percent after the biotech company reported better-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue yesterday.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1990 to 791. On the Nasdaq, 1939 issues rose and 724 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 77 52-week highs and three lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 164 highs and 26 lows.

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