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A Bay Street sign, the main street in the financial district is seen in Toronto, January 28, 2013. (Mark Blinch / Reuters)
A Bay Street sign, the main street in the financial district is seen in Toronto, January 28, 2013. (Mark Blinch / Reuters)

The close: Nasdaq hits record high, metals lead TSX higher Add to ...

The Nasdaq hit a record intraday high on Tuesday, extending its run as healthcare stocks rose for the sixth straight session, while a jump in banks lifted the S&P 500 and metals prices boosted the Toronto stock market.

The Dow, however, was weighed down by a 1.8-per-cent decline in IBM and a 0.7-per-cent loss in Goldman Sachs.

Investors are focusing on the earnings season, which kicks off this week, to assess whether fourth-quarter corporate performance justifies Wall Street’s record levels.

“We’ve shifted from that exuberance post the election and the rotation into some of the sectors and now we are entering a wait-and-see mode with earnings knocking at the front door,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Equity Capital Markets in News York.

“Earnings may be the pivot to move things higher.”

S&P 500 companies are set to post their strongest quarterly growth in three years, with earnings estimated to have risen 5.8 per cent in the fourth quarter, mainly driven by financials, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 31.85 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 19,855.53, the S&P 500 was unchanged at 2,268.9 and the Nasdaq Composite added 20 points, or 0.36 per cent, to 5,551.82, easing from a life high of 5,564.25 – its third straight record since Friday.

Canada’s benchmark stock index rose on Tuesday, led by the financial and materials groups as metal prices rose, while shares of drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. surged as it sold more than $2-billion worth of assets to pay down debt.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index closed up 37.33 points, or 0.24 per cent, at 15,426.28. Six of the index’s 10 main groups ended higher.

The Canadian dollar fell 0.09 to 75.52 cents (U.S.).

First Quantam Minerals rose 10 per cent, Teck Resources added 7.8 per cent and Valeant gained 7 per cent.

Hudson’s Bay fell nearly 13 per cent after it cut its revenue forecast.

On the S&P 500, seven of the 11 major sectors were higher, led by a gain in financials.

JPMorgan, Bank of America and Wells Fargo scheduled to report results on Friday. Bank of America and Wells Fargo were up about 2 per cent.

Healthcare stocks gained 0.62 per cent and the Nasdaq biotech index was 0.75 per cent higher, both up for the sixth session in a row.

General Motors rose 3.7 per cent to $37.38 after the No.1 U.S. automaker forecast 2017 profit above analysts’ expectations.

Illumina surged 17.4 per cent to $166.08 after the diagnostics company gave a strong quarterly forecast and launched a new product.

Zimmer Biomet rose 6.6 per cent to $114.07 after the orthopedics company said it expects fourth-quarter net sales well above analysts’ expectations.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,747 to 1,137. On the Nasdaq, 1,716 issues rose and 1,085 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 11 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 74 new highs and 17 new lows.

Reuters

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