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Dow hits 12th record high close; Trump talks up infrastructure spending

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., February 22, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks ended slightly higher on Monday and the Dow closed at a record high for a 12th straight session, as President Donald Trump said he would talk about his plans for infrastructure spending in an address to Congress Tuesday.

The Dow's streak of record-high closes matches a 12-day run in 1987. Boeing (BA.N), UnitedHealth (UNH.N) and Caterpillar (CAT.N) were among the biggest boosts for the Dow on Monday.

Energy gave the biggest lift to the S&P 500, which also closed at a record, with the energy index (.SPNY) up 0.9 percent. Caterpillar gained 2.1 percent and the S&P 1500 construction and engineering index (.SPCOMCSE) rose 1.9 percent. Construction and engineering shares sold off last week over concerns about a delay for Trump's infrastructure package.

Trump, who met with state governors at the White House, said he sees "big" infrastructure spending, and that he is seeking what he called a "historic" increase in military spending of more than 9 percent.

Investors are looking for more specifics on Trump's plans in his first address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday, given the hefty gains in the market since the Nov. 8 election.

Some strategists said there is potentially more upside than downside from the address.

"If he comes through with both guns blazing, so to speak, and all of his stuff is ready to roll, it doesn't mean it's going to get through Congress or that it's going to get through the court system, but it would confirm he's serious about this stuff and that would generally be bullish for the market," said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) rose 15.68 points, or 0.08 percent, to close at 20,837.44, while the S&P 500 (.SPX) gained 2.39 points, or 0.10 percent, to 2,369.73. The Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) added 16.59 points, or 0.28 percent, to 5,861.90.

In its 1987 12-day streak of record-high closes, the Dow rose 9.2 percent compared with just a 3.9 percent gain in its recent record run.

While the S&P 500 is up 10.8 percent since the Nov. 8 election, the pace of the rally slowed this year. Trump's promise a few weeks ago of a "phenomenal" tax announcement helped rekindle that post-election rally, driving the main U.S. markets to record highs.

Shares of U.S. defence companies - Boeing, Raytheon (RTN.N), General Dynamics (GD.N) and Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) - rose after Trump said he would seek to boost Pentagon spending by $54 billion in his first budget proposal. Boeing was up 1.1 percent.

UnitedHealth was up 1.4 percent. Trump, who also met with chief executives of UnitedHealth and other health insurers Monday, sought to bring the nation's largest insurance companies on board with his plans to overhaul the Affordable Care Act.

Time Warner (TWX.N) ended up 0.9 percent after news that the head of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission does not expect to review AT&T Inc's (T.N) planned $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner.

AT&T slipped 1.3 percent.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.55-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.87-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 63 new 52-week highs and one new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 143 new highs and 45 new lows.

About 6.9 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, above the 6.8 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.

(Additional reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and James Dalgleish)