Stocks Nearing All-Time High

US markets rallied with both the Standard and Poors 500 and the Nasdaq Composite closing near record highs and Wall Street celebrated stronger-than-expected quarterly profits from some of the biggest publicly traded companies in the US. 

Indeed, the S&P 500 ended the day just shy of its intraday record, 2,940.91.  In addition, the Nasdaq Composite closed up 1.3 percent, climbing to 8,120.82.  The Dow Jones also had a very good day, gaining 145.34 points to reach a closing price of 26,656.39, only about 1 percent from an all-time high.  In all, the broad index closed 0.9 percent higher, at 2,933.68; which is better than its previous record of 2,930.75.  

This impressive day is important as it comes not even six months after that sharp decline we saw back in December.  If you recall, this strike dropped the S&P 500 to its worst annual performance in more than 10 years.  Stocks quickly reversed momentum, though, as the Federal Reserve reversed course on its monetary policy at a time when the trade relationship between the United States and China hit major strides. 

Actually, since December, the S&P 500 has recovered 25 percent; and the Dow Jones and Nasdaq Composite have also climbed by 22 percent and 30 percent, respectively.  The upward climb, on Tuesday, approaches a new benchmark high for both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite indices.

Looking more closely at each of the indices, Coca-Cola and United Technologies helped boost the Dow Jones Industrial average by reporting better-than-expected quarterly results.  These companies saw shares rise 1.7 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively. Twitter also posted stronger results than expected, jumping a massive 15.6 percent to help boost the Nasdaq.  In addition, defense giant Lockheed Martin posted a 5 percent rally after topping expectations.  

All in all, this has been one of the busiest weeks in the corporate earnings season, so far.  And within the next few days, or so, more than 140 companies from the S&P 500 will have published their first-quarter results.  And, so far, of those S&P 500 companies that have reported, 78 percent surpassed analyst expectations.