US STOCKS-U.S. stocks hit record highs as energy, materials climb
* Dollar down for second straight day
* Fed to release minutes of July meeting on Wednesday
* Philadelphia semiconductor index hits 16-year high
* Indexes up: Dow 0.5 pct, S&P 0.4 pct, Nasdaq 0.7 pct (Updates to late afternoon)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
Aug 15 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose again to all-time highs on Monday, extending their record-setting climb of the past few weeks as a rally in oil lifted energy shares, while materials also gained.
Oil rose to five-week highs, driving the S&P 500 energy index up 0.7 percent, while other commodity-related shares also rose as the U.S. dollar eased. The S&P 500 materials index gained 1.1 percent.
Expectations that the Federal Reserve will continue to keep rates low have helped stoke investor appetite for U.S. stocks, and analysts say a better-than-expected earnings picture could propel further gains in stocks.
"We're moving from an interest-rate-driven bull market to an earnings-driven secular bull market," said Jeffrey Saut, chief investment strategist at Raymond James Financial in St. Petersburg, Florida. He said earnings should pick up this year and continue to improve "over the next few years." Continuación...