The Dow Jones industrial average surpassed 19,000 for the first time Tuesday as a post-election rally drove indexes further into record territory. Discount-store chains made large gains, but health care companies tumbled.
Stocks opened solidly higher after setting records Monday. They gave up some of their gains around midday but reached new highs late in the afternoon. Health care stocks slumped after weak results from medical device company Medtronic. Retailers soared after strong earnings from Dollar Tree and Burlington Stores.
"The consumer in general is far more budget-conscious than they were in previous generations," Ken Perkins, president of research firm Retail Metrics, said of discount chains.
The Dow picked up 67.18 points, or 0.4 percent, to 19,023.87. The Dow has closed at a record high six times in the two weeks since the presidential election, but trading volume has fallen in recent days. U.S. trading will be closed Thursday for Thanksgiving, and markets will close early Friday.
Shoppers kept flocking to discount stores. Dollar Tree raised its profit and sales forecasts after the chain reported solid third-quarter results. Burlington Stores raised its outlook after it posted a larger profit than analysts expected. Dollar Tree rose $6.69, 8.2 percent, to $88.68. Burlington Stores added $11.86, 16 percent, to $86.04.
Other retailers, including Home Depot, TJX and Signet Jewelers, also rose as consumer stocks reached all-time highs. Perkins said chains such as Dollar Tree were able to win over new customers after the Great Recession and low-cost clothing companies such as TJX, the parent of TJ Maxx, have also performed well since that time.
Health care stocks, still trading lower than they were at the start of the year, took hefty losses after weak results from Medtronic, one of the world's largest medical device companies. Matt Miksic, medical device analyst for UBS, said some investors worried that Medtronic's results mean a lot of similar companies will face slower growth. Medtronic reported weak sales across most of its categories in the United States, he said.