Record closing high for US shares

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Shares on Wall Street picked up on Tuesday to a new all-time high as investors bet that the US central bank would continue supporting the economy.

Federal Reserve officials encouraged investors to think the bank would continue to support the economy with its bond-buying programme, something some feared it would ease back on.

Fed chief Ben Bernanke is giving testimony before Congress on Wednesday.

The Dow Jones rose 0.34% to 15,387.58 to a record close.

The S&P 500 index crept up 0.17% to 1,669.16, also a record.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 0.16% to 3,502.12 , its highest close since October 2000.

Gainers included Home Depot, the world's largest home improvement chain.

It rose more than 2% after it increased its profit forecast, helped by the continuing recovery in the US housing market.


JPMorgan also gained 1.4% after the bank's chief executive, Jamie Dimon, won a shareholder vote to keep hin in place as chairman for another year.

Apple shares showed little reaction after its chief executive, Tim Cook, testified before a critical Congress after a US Senate report on the company's offshore tax structure.

It said the iPhone maker had kept billions of dollars in profits in Irish subsidiaries to reduce its tax bill, something the company denied.

Apple shares fell 0.7 %.

The New York Federal Reserve president, William Dudley, said he could not be sure whether policymakers would either reduce or increase the amount of purchases, because of the "uncertain" economic outlook.

The US central bank has been buying $85bn worth of bonds a month, something that has helped to keep share prices attractive to investors as returns on other investments, such as bonds, have remained weak.

The minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest policy-setting meeting will be released on Wednesday afternoon.

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