Stocks close slightly higher; Dow briefly tops 23000

Federal Hall's George Washington statue stands near the flag-covered pillars of the New York Stock Exchange. Stocks are off to a mixed start on Wall Street Tuesday Oct. 17 2017 as gains for health

Apple's stock accounts for over half of the Dow's gain

The Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly broke above the 23,000-point mark for the first time on Tuesday, driven by strong earnings from UnitedHealth and Johnson & Johnson, but finished the session just below that milestone.

The blue-chip index reached the 22,000 mark only in August.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite indexes were largely flat in early trading.

U.S. stocks have broken numerous records since President Donald Trump last month released an outline of his tax cut plan.

"Right now, we're contending with earnings season, and the fact that the market has run up, leading up to the earnings season". It was the fourth time since the start of the year that the Dow breached a new 1,000-point threshold.

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Wall Street opened flat on Tuesday as gains in healthcare stocks were largely offset by losses in financials, with an earnings beat from Goldman Sachs failing to cheer investors. "Finally, with the prospect of corporate tax reform, it's possible that earnings might grow even faster than the current economic fundamentals would suggest, due to lower tax rates".

Shares of the largest US health insurer UnitedHealth touched a life high and was last up 6.3 percent, after the company reported a stronger-than-expected profit and raised its full-year earnings forecast.

Johnson & Johnson shares also had a good day, rising 2.7 percent to $139.79 after it reported strong quarterly results. Morgan Stanley's third-quarter profit rose 12 per cent, reflecting the strength of its wealth management business.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.32 percent from 2.30 percent late Monday.

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