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Wall Street extends record-setting climb on upbeat economic data

By April Joyner
FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York

By April Joyner

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street's major indexes inched higher on Tuesday, extending their record-setting rally, as strong housing and manufacturing data bolstered investors' confidence in the U.S. economy.

The benchmark S&P 500 <.SPX> hit a record high for a fourth straight session, building on its 27% gain this year, which has been driven by progress toward a U.S.-China trade agreement, a dovish Federal Reserve and upbeat economic indicators.

U.S. housing starts increased more than expected in November, and building permits rose that month to the highest level since May 2007. Data from the Federal Reserve also showed manufacturing output picked up more than expected in November, as the end of a strike at General Motors Co <GM.N> boosted automobile production.

"Most of the data is showing that the global economy is stabilizing and the U.S. economy is on a solid footing," said Keith Lerner, chief market strategist at Truist/SunTrust Advisory Services in Atlanta. "The market has been repricing the odds of a recession risk lower."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> rose 31.27 points, or 0.11%, to 28,267.16, the S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 1.07 points, or 0.03%, to 3,192.52 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 9.13 points, or 0.1%, to 8,823.36.

The S&P 500 financial index <.SPSY>, which tends to be economically sensitive, rose 0.5% to a record high on the upbeat data. Among the S&P 500's major sectors, financials added the most gains to the benchmark index.

Shares of Home Depot Inc <HD.N> rose 1.0% on the housing data and were among the biggest boosts to the Dow. Shares of rival Lowe's Cos Inc <LOW.N> dipped 0.6%, however, after having risen earlier in the session.

Netflix Inc <NFLX.O> shares rose 3.7%, among the biggest percentage gains on the S&P 500, after the streaming service provider said late Monday that its overseas growth, particularly its Asia-Pacific business, was accelerating.

Apple Inc <AAPL.O> shares touched a record high and ended with marginal gains, up 0.2%.

After the bell, FedEx Corp <FDX.N> shares fell about 6% after the package-delivery company reported quarterly results.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.59-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.27-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 47 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 173 new highs and 54 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 7.28 billion shares, compared to the 6.89 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.


(Reporting by April Joyner in New York; Additional reporting by Uday Sampath and Abhishek Manikandan in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Chang and Leslie Adler)