The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded above 26,000 for the first time on Tuesday, Jan. 16, and the S&P 500 crossed 2,800 as stocks pushed further into uncharted territory as investors extended bets on a strong corporate earnings season.

The Dow gained 176 points, or 0.7%, to 25,984. It crossed 26,000 shortly after markets opened on Tuesday. The blue-chip index blasted through 25,000 just days ago on Jan. 4. The S&P 500 rose 0.4% to 2,797, while the Nasdaq gained 0.62%. All three indexes set intraday record highs on Tuesday.

"The Dow moved above 26,000 shortly after market opening and the S&P 500 climbed over 2,800 -- both all-time highs. But which one gets all the attention? Not the one that should," said chief financial analyst Greg McBride. 

"Much will be made of the rapid advance from 25,000 to 26,000 in the Dow. But this is just a 4% increase. One thousand points is less significant now than it was in 2009, that's for sure," McBride added.

Shares of Citigroup Inc. (C) - Get Report  rose 0.4% after the bank posted a staggering $18.3 billion loss in the fourth quarter as it wrote down the value of tax credits saved up following the U.S. bank's massive government bailout in 2008. It was the New York-based company's biggest loss in a decade, triggered by U.S. lawmakers' passage in December of a cut in the U.S. corporate tax rate to 21% from 35%.

Excluding the charge, however, fourth-quarter earnings per share were $1.28, exceeding analysts' average estimate of $1.22.

UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH) - Get Report posted fourth-quarter earnings of $2.59 a share, 8 cents above analysts' estimates. The stock jumped 2.4%.

According to FactSet, 69% of the companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings so far have topped earnings estimates.

General Motors Co. (GM) - Get Report , the country's largest automaker, said Tuesday it would record a $7 billion non-cash charge in the fourth quarter related to the new U.S. tax law but added that it expects adjusted earnings in 2017 at the high end of its guidance range of $6 to $6.50 a share. Analysts expect GM to earn $6.29 a share in 2017. GM rose 2.5%.

General Electric Co. (GE) - Get Report tumbled 2.5% after the industrial giant said it will book a $6.2 billion charge to its fourth-quarter earnings linked to weakness in its North American Life & Health insurance portfolio.

General Electric is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS charitable trust portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer and the AAP team buy or sell the stock? Learn more now.

Merck & Co. (MRK) - Get Report gained 7.5% after the drug company announced positive results from a late-stage lung cancer trial.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 index, the broadest measure of regional share prices, gained 0.23%, while Asian markets finished the session mostly higher.

The dollar's decline stabilized somewhat on Tuesday, although the dollar index, a benchmark of the greenback against a basket of six global currencies, was still sitting within touching distance of its December 2014 low at 90.60, helping Japan's Nikkei 225 surge 1% to close at the highest level since 1991. At last check, the dollar index was at 90.72.

Oil prices were mixed after touching three-year peaks on Monday, as investors calibrated bets on renewed demand for crude in an accelerating global economy while accounting for an increase in U.S. drilling installations and production rates reported last week. West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the U.S. benchmark, fell 0.03% to $64.28 a barrel.

In U.S. economic news, the Empire State manufacturing survey fell to 17.7 in January, the third straight month the index has declined, from a revised 19.6 in December.

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