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Dow breaches 26,000 mark on robust earnings reports

The Dow hit the 26,000 mark for the first time, as fourth-quarter earnings kicked into high gear.
Image: Traders celebrate on the main trading floor of the NYSE as the Dow Jones Industrial Average passes 20,000 after opening of trading session in New York
Traders celebrate on the main trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) as the Dow Jones Industrial Average passes the 20,000 mark shortly after the opening of the trading session.Brendan McDermid / Reuters

Wall Street's main indexes rose sharply on Tuesday, with the Dow hitting the 26,000 mark for the first time — just 12 days after racing past its previous record high of 25,000.

Hopes of strong quarterly earnings, supported by a steep cut in corporate taxes, and solid global economic growth have bolstered Wall Street's optimism in the start to 2018.

"Not only is the U.S. coming off a strong quarter, but the new tax reform measures are continuing to provide a boost, with investors keen to hear more about what impact this will have on future earnings," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at online foreign exchange broker Oanda.

The Dow was up 225 points by 9.40 ET on Tuesday, its fastest 1,000-point rise. It ended above 25,000 on Jan. 4.

United Health rose 2.2 percent after the largest U.S. health insurer reported results that beat analysts' estimates and raised its full-year profit forecast.

Citigroup jumped 1.4 percent after the lender reported profit that topped Wall Street expectations as strength in consumer businesses made up for lower revenue from bond and currency trading.

General Motors rose 2.7 percent after the company said it expected earnings in 2018 to be largely flat, compared with 2017, but that profits should pick up pace in 2019.

Amazon rose more than 2 percent, extending gains from last week when data showed U.S. holiday spending surged to 12-year high, prompting price target hikes.