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Overnight Markets: Wal-Mart lifts Wall Street to record highs

The big box retailer jumped more than 4% after it announced upbeat earnings guidance and unveiled a new $20 billion share buyback programme.

Overnight Markets: Wal-Mart lifts Wall Street to record highs

Wall Street hits fresh record highs on Tuesday, helped by a surge in Wal-Mart Stores and airline stocks, while Amazon and technology stocks lost ground as investors awaited upcoming quarterly reports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.31% to 22,831 points, a record-high close. It is up 15.5%. The S&P 500 gained 0.23% to 2,551 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.11% to 6,587.

Wal-Mart jumped more than 4% after the big box retailer announced upbeat earnings guidance and unveiled a new $20 billion share buyback programme.

That helped the S&P 500 consumer staples index jump 0.77%, although gains in that sector were limited by P&G, which dropped 1.06% after activist investor Nelson Peltz unexpectedly failed in his bid to win a board seat.

The tech index, the best performing among the 11 major S&P sectors this year, fell 0.14%, weighed down by Alphabet, Facebook and Intel.

Among the gainers in tech stocks was Nvidia, which rose 1.87% after unveiling chips for autonomous vehicles.

American Airlines jumped 4.94% and United Continental soared 5.34% after the two airlines gave encouraging third-quarter forecasts. Delta, which reports on Wednesday, rose 2.45%.

Energy stocks got a boost from a near 2% surge in oil prices supported by Saudi Arabian export cuts in November and comments from OPEC and trading companies that the market is rebalancing after years of oversupply.

Third-quarter corporate reporting season kicks into high gear on Thursday with results from JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup.

In Asia, share markets gained on Wednesday in morning trade, taking cues from signs of confidence in the US.

Japan's Nikkei 225 reversed early losses to climb 0.25% as the dollar steadied. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi gained 0.67%. Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 tacked on 0.55%, touching one-month highs earlier in the session.

The positive mood also extended to greater China. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.37% in early trade. On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite edged up 0.11%.

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