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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 0.21 pct, Dow 0.25 pct, Nasdaq 0.49 pct (Updates to close)
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 earnings reports in the consumer sector and relative calm in the trade dispute between the United States and China.
The S&P rose as much as 0.6 percent to a record intraday high of 2,873.23 points, topping its previous record high of 2,872.87 on Jan. 26, though it closed below both those marks.
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 0.8 percent.
The S&P consumer discretionary index climbed 0.9 percent as shares of off-price retailer TJX Companies Inc rose on strong results and Toll Brothers Inc’s encouraging quarterly report boosted shares of homebuilders.
“We’ve got good momentum, which is fundamentally justified by the strong economy and better earnings,” said Kevin Caron, senior portfolio manager at Washington Crossing Advisors in Florham Park, New Jersey. “Investors still seem relatively optimistic about growth, and you’re seeing that expressed in the market today.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 63.6 points, or 0.25 percent, to 25,822.29, the S&P 500 gained 5.91 points, or 0.21 percent, to 2,862.96 and the Nasdaq Composite added 38.17 points, or 0.49 percent, to 7,859.17.
The small-cap Russell 2000 index, which is less affected by global tariff disputes than its large-cap peers, ended the session up 1.1 percent at a record closing high.
The S&P 500 energy index rose 0.5 percent and the S&P 500 materials index gained 0.4 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 13.8 percent after the homebuilder reported better-than-expected quarterly results. Shares of its industry peers PulteGroup, Lennar and D.R. Horton also rose between 3.8 percent and 5.5 percent.
TJX shares climbed 4.7 percent, ending the session at a record closing high, after the retailer topped quarterly comparable-store sales estimates and raised its full-year earnings forecast.
But shares of Coty Inc tumbled 7.1 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 1.88-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.32-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 43 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 164 new highs and 32 new lows.
Volume on U.S. exchanges was 5.86 billion shares, compared with the 6.49 billion average over the last 20 trading days. (Reporting by April Joyner; additional reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva, Lisa Shumaker and Susan Thomas)