The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq finished Tuesday with their best closes ever... Stocks back at record highs - rallying 25 percent from their lows last year.
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) CONWAY G.
GITTENS, REUTERS BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT, SAYING: "I'm Conway Gittens in New York.
There are a number of factors behind this slow climb to set new highs for the first time since September.
There is the belief the Federal Reserve is on hold for at least the rest of this year, economic data released Tuesday like New Home Sales are encouraging, and there is a general relief earnings season is where as dire as feared." Still, profits of S&P 500 companies are expected to decline 1.3% in the first quarter, in what analysts say could be the first earnings contraction since 2016 Talley Leger is an equity strategist at Oppenheimer Funds.
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) TALLEY LEGER, EQUITY STRATEGIST, OPPENHEIMER FUNDS, SAYING: "Right here, right now, I think investors are beginning to differentiate between economic recession, which we don't think that's happening and earnings recession, which also looks unlikely and a simple growth scare.
That seems the most likely scenario right now.
And earnings growth slowdowns are quite common.
We had one in the late 1990s.
We had one in 2015/16 and the point is for long-term investors those episodes prove to be buying opportunities." Investors had their fair share of positive earnings surprises to spur buying on Tuesday... Twitter posted a surprise gain in monthly subscriber numbers... Coca-Cola benefitted from strong demand for zero-calorie drinks and new flavors... And Lockheed Martin saw stronger sales after President Trump relaxed the rules on foreign arms sales.
But earnings season isn't over - other big names to come this week include Amazon and Facebook.