* Dow within 37 points of 20,000 mark
* Financials lead gainers; Goldman Sachs boosts Dow
* Indexes up: Dow 0.40 pct, S&P 0.27 pct, Nasdaq 0.38 pct
(Updates to afternoon trading)
By Noel Randewich
Dec 20 U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday with the Dow
nearing 20,000, a level it has never breached, in a rally fueled
by optimism about President-elect Donald Trump's policies.
The Nasdaq and the Dow Jones industrial average had hit
fresh intra-day records, with the blue-chip index just 37 points
short of scaling the historic mark.
Goldman Sachs, which was up 1.8 percent, gave the
biggest boost to the Dow.
U.S. stocks have been on a tear since the Nov. 8
presidential election, with the Dow up 9 percent and the S&P 500
gaining more than 6 percent on bets that Trump's plans for
deregulation and infrastructure spending will boost the economy.
"The market is focused on the Trump agenda, which is tax
cuts, infrastructure spending and deregulation," said Jeff
Zipper, managing director for investments at Private Client
Reserve at U.S. Bank in Palm Beach, Florida.
Some investors believe stocks have become expensive. The S&P
500 is trading at about 17 times expected earnings, well above
its 10-year average of 14, according to Thomson Reuters
The Dow's 20,000 level represents a major milestone on Wall
Street and some investors believe that piercing that level would
signal the recent rally may continue. The Dow first hit 10,000
"To have enough energy to push through that barrier would
mean there's a lot of buying power in the system," said Brad
McMillan, Chief Investment Officer for Commonwealth Financial
Network. "Once we do crack through, that ceiling will tend to
become a floor."
At 2:31 p.m. (1931 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average
was up 0.4 percent to 19,962.94 and the S&P 500
had gained 0.27 percent to 2,268.66.
The Nasdaq Composite added 0.38 percent to 5,477.91.
Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with the
financial index's 0.97 percent rise leading the
Wells Fargo rose 1.54 percent and Citigroup
added 1.27 percent.
The consumer discretionary index rose 0.85
General Mills fell 2.91 percent after the Cheerios
cereal-maker's quarterly results missed expectations.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a
1.61-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.57-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 35 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the
Nasdaq Composite recorded 212 new highs and 29 new lows.
(Additional reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by