Wall Street at new record highs as tech, auto advance

A trader works inside a stall on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid A trader works inside a stall on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Ankur Banerjee and Gayathree Ganesan

(Reuters) – All the three main U.S. stock indexes hit fresh record highs on Tuesday, buoyed by a rally in tech stocks and gains in Ford Motor <F.N> and General Motors <GM.N> after the carmakers reported strong September sales.

Seven of the 11 major S&P indexes were higher, led by technology <.SPLRCT> and consumer discretionary <.SPLRCD> sectors.

Major automakers posted higher U.S. new vehicle sales in September, as consumers in hurricane-hit parts of the country rushed to replace flood-damaged cars.

However, the market traded in a narrow range as investors awaited upcoming quarterly earnings from big names to help justify the lofty valuations.

Third-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to increase 5.5 percent from a year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters research, after rising a better-than-expected 12.3 percent in the second quarter.

“Tech has been in leadership for the first nine months of this year,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York.

The sector is stabilizing as seasonal rotation ends and investors are looking at the stocks as opportunities now, he said.

The markets have been scaling new highs and on Monday found support from factory data that pointed to underlying strength in the U.S. economy.

The encouraging data helped world shares touch their latest record highs on Tuesday, while lifting the dollar to its loftiest in 1-1/2 months.

“The first two days of October seem to be a continuation of what happened in the last two weeks of September … we’re gradually grinding higher in the month of October,” said Hogan.

At 11:07 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> was up 61.05 points, or 0.27 percent, at 22,618.65, while the S&P 500 <.SPX> was up 0.97 points, or 0.04 percent, at 2,530.09.

The Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> was up 3.25 points, or 0.05 percent, at 6,519.97.

General Motors’ shares rose 3.7 percent to a record high of $43.32 in morning trading, while Ford’s stock was up 2.05 percent at $12.34.

But rival Tesla Inc <TSLA.O> was down 2 percent after the luxury electric vehicle maker said its planned ramp-up for the new Model 3 mass-market sedan faced production bottlenecks.

Lennar Corp’s <LEN.N> shares rose about 3 percent following a higher-than-expected quarterly profit from the No.2 U.S. homebuilder.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,455 to 1,286. On the Nasdaq, 1,368 issues rose and 1,358 fell.

(Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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