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US STOCKS-Dow and Nasdaq hit record highs
February 7, 2017 / 2:52 PM / 7 months ago

US STOCKS-Dow and Nasdaq hit record highs

* December trade deficit fell to $44.3 bln vs. est. $45 bln

* Michael Kors falls on weak results and forecast cut

* S&P less than five points away from all-time high

* Indexes up: Dow 0.33 pct, S&P 0.18 pct, Nasdaq 0.21 pct (Updates to open)

By Yashaswini Swamynathan and Tanya Agrawal

Feb 7 (Reuters) - The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite hit record levels at the open on Tuesday, while the S&P 500 was less than five points away from hitting another all-time high.

Investors are assessing corporate earnings to see if stock valuations are justified after a post-election rally drove U.S. equities to record highs.

Fourth-quarter earnings are estimated to have risen 8.1 percent - the best in nine quarters.

“We’re a stone’s throw away from all-time highs and the market has been sitting in a relatively tight range, looking for a fresh theme to commit capital,” said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

While Trump has promised tax cuts and higher infrastructure spending, the lack of detail and his isolationist stance have kept investors cautious. The S&P 500 index has not moved more than 1 percent in either direction since Dec. 7.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite closed little changed on Monday, while the S&P fell slightly as losses in energy companies weighed.

A report from the U.S. Commerce Department showed trade deficit fell more than expected in December as exports rose to their highest level in more than 1-1/2 years, outpacing an increase in imports.

At 9:38 a.m. ET (1437 GMT) the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 65.43 points, or 0.33 percent, at 20,117.85.

The S&P 500 was up 4.15 points, or 0.18 percent, at 2,296.71 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 11.81 points, or 0.21 percent, at 5,675.37.

Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with industrials’ 0.41 percent rise leading the advancers.

Shares of Michael Kors dropped 12.8 percent to $36.02 after the handbag maker reported disappointing third quarter sales and cut its full-year revenue forecast.

Health insurer Centene was up 4.3 percent at $66.29 following better-than-expected quarterly revenue and profit.

General Motors slipped 3.3 percent to $35.68 after the automaker said fourth-quarter net income fell partly because of $500 million in foreign exchange losses.

Twenty-First Century Fox fell 1.3 percent to $30.67 after its quarterly revenue missed Wall Street expectations.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,454 to 1,078. On the Nasdaq, 1,255 issues rose and 963 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 18 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 44 new highs and 11 new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan and Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D‘Silva)

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