Dow surpasses 19,000 as a record-setting drive continues

By MARLEY JAY

NEW YORK (AP) — The Dow Jones industrial average surpassed 19,000 for the first time Tuesday as a post-election rally drove indexes further into record territory. Discount store chains made large gains, but health care companies tumbled.

Stocks opened solidly higher after setting records on Monday. They gave up some of their gains around midday but reached new highs late in the afternoon. Health care stocks slumped after weak results from medical device company Medtronic. Retailers soared after strong earnings from Dollar Tree and Burlington Stores.

"The consumer in general is far more budget-conscious than they were in previous generations," Ken Perkins, president of research firm Retail Metrics, said of discount chains.

The Dow picked up 67.18 points, or 0.4 percent, to 19,023.87. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 4.76 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,202.94. The Nasdaq composite gained 17.49 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,386.35.

The Russell 2000 index, which tracks smaller companies, continued to set records as it traded higher for the 13th day in a row. It jumped 0.9 percent.

The Dow has closed at a record high six times in the two weeks since the presidential election, but trading volume has fallen in recent days. U.S. trading will be closed Thursday for Thanksgiving and markets will close early on Friday.

Shoppers continued to flock to discount stores. Dollar Tree raised its profit and sales forecasts after the chain reported solid results in the third quarter. Burlington Stores also raised its outlook after it posted a larger profit than analysts expected. Dollar Tree jumped $6.69, or 8.2 percent, to $88.68 and Burlington Stores added $11.86, or 16 percent, to $86.04.

Other retailers like Home Depot, TJX and Signet Jewelers also rose as consumer stocks reached all-time highs. Perkins, of Retail Metrics, said chains like Dollar Tree were able to win over new customers after the Great Recession, and low-cost clothing companies like TJX, the parent of TJ Maxx, have also performed well since that time.

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