August 21, 2018 / 7:28 PM / a month ago

US STOCKS-S&P hits record high, equals longest-ever bull run

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* Toll Brothers’ strong quarterly results boost homebuilders

* TJX gains on strong sales, Coty sinks on rare sales miss

* Small-cap Russell 2000 index hits record

* Indexes up: S&P 0.37 pct, Dow 0.42 pct, Nasdaq 0.58 pct (Updates to late afternoon, changes byline, adds NEW YORK to dateline)

By April Joyner

NEW YORK, Aug 21 (Reuters) - The benchmark S&P 500 touched a record high on Tuesday and equaled its longest-ever bull-market run, as U.S. stocks rose on encouraging earnings reports in the consumer sector and relative calm in the ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China.

The S&P rose as much as 0.6 percent to a record high of 2,873.23 points, topping its previous record high of 2,872.87 on Jan. 26.

The index’s bull-market run is now 3,452 days old and on Wednesday would become the longest such streak in history, at least for some market watchers.

Trade-sensitive industrial stocks rose for the fourth consecutive session as investors remained optimistic that the United States and China could move closer to settling their trade dispute. The S&P 500 industrial index rose 0.9 percent.

The S&P consumer discretionary index climbed 1.0 percent as off-price retailer TJX Companies Inc rose on strong results and Toll Brothers Inc’s encouraging quarterly report boosted shares of homebuilders.

“We’re checking all the boxes: fundamentals, macro data, geopolitical,” said Mike Bailey, director of research at FBB Capital Partners in Bethesda, Maryland. “Now that major risks are off the table, when you line up all the factors, stock valuations are pretty reasonable.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 107.37 points, or 0.42 percent, to 25,866.06, the S&P 500 gained 10.68 points, or 0.37 percent, to 2,867.73 and the Nasdaq Composite added 45.29 points, or 0.58 percent, to 7,866.29.

The small-cap Russell 2000 index, which is less affected by global tariff disputes than its large-cap peers, jumped to a record high. The Russell 2000 was last up 1.2 percent.

The S&P 500 energy index rose 0.9 percent and the S&P 500 materials index gained 0.6 percent, in tandem with higher prices for oil and metals.

Helping commodity prices was a drop in the dollar after President Donald Trump said he was “not thrilled” with the Federal Reserve for raising rates and that the central bank should do more to help him boost the economy.

The criticism came ahead of the release of the Fed’s minutes of its August policy meeting on Wednesday, which is expected to reaffirm its confidence in the U.S. economy and its commitment to future rate hikes.

Toll Brothers shares jumped 13.6 percent after the homebuilder reported better-than-expected quarterly results. Shares of its industry peers PulteGroup, Lennar and D.R. Horton also rose between 4 percent and 6 percent.

TJX shares climbed 4.6 percent to hit an all-time high after the retailer topped quarterly comparable-store sales estimates and raised its full-year earnings forecast.

But shares of Coty Inc tumbled 6.0 percent after the beauty products maker missed sales estimates for the first time in six quarters.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.04-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.66-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 43 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 155 new highs and 29 new lows. (Reporting by April Joyner; additional reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Lisa Shumaker)

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