U.S. stocks end at records again, extending rally

Traders work on the floor of the New York stock exchange on 8 January 2018. Reuters

Wall Street hits new highs on earnings optimism, data

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 29 percent last year and the broader S&P 500 rose 22 percent, rare and breath-taking gains that simply can not be repeated every year.

Friday's gains also followed a strong December US retail sales report, which lifted annual retail sales by 4.2 percent, the biggest increase since 2014.

S&P 500 measures the performance of 500 widely held common stocks of large-cap USA companies.

That point has not been reached in the first days of 2018.

All three indices closed at records on Thursday.

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"Dudley is touching on something that investors should fear", said Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners in Chicago.

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Earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to increase on an average by 12.1 per cent in the quarter, with profit for financial services companies likely to increase 13.2 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters. "This is a wait-and-see mode with a healthy amount of optimism".

The S&P 500 posted 107 new 52-week highs and 8 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 176 new highs and 18 new lows. The Dow Jones Transport index rose 2.3 percent - its biggest one-day percentage gain since November 29. On the Nasdaq, 1,808 issues rose and 1,069 fell.

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