Dow closes above 26000 for first time in history

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Losses among Boeing, General Electric and other big industrial companies weighed on USA stocks Thursday, pulling the market below the record highs it set the day before. General Electric declined 58 cents, or 3.3 percent, to $16.77.

Investors were surprisingly optimistic in the face of a possible government shutdown on Friday. The blue chip index Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 323 points to record levels, closing for the first time over 26,000 points.

The S&P 500 posted 84 new 52-week highs and 11 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 120 new highs and 22 new lows.

In data news, USA industrial production more than doubled the consensus forecast for December, raising confidence in the domestic economy.

As for the Wall Street impact, a shutdown could sap some of the momentum that helped drive the stock market to new highs this week, said J.J. Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade.

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The president also reportedly doubled down on his denial that he never said the disparaging remark during the Oval Office meeting. The president has suggested a government shutdown would hurt the military and wants Democrats to get the blame if that occurs.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose to a fresh closing peak on Wednesday, aided by continued strength in index heavyweight Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEx) which jumped more than 2 per cent to 2-1/2-year highs.

Investors have been encouraged by strong global growth, rising company earnings and the prospects for further corporate profits thanks to the tax overhaul signed into law last month, which cut the top tax rate for corporations from 35 percent to 21 percent.

Alcoa tumbled 7 percent after the company reported a wider loss in the fourth quarter. Technology and consumer staples led gains for the day.

European bourses opened lower, mirroring moves in Asia and Wall Street overnight, as earnings updates from companies weighed. The stock declined $4.81, or 1.9 percent, to $253.65. Wyndham gained $5.60, or 4.8 percent, to $122.73. The Nasdaq composite gained 33 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,257.

Bank of New York Mellon fell 4.1 percent after the custodian bank said it expected to book more in severance costs in 2018.

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