Dow on track for another record

U.S. markets posted triple-digit gains on Wednesday, and inched just above the 26,000 point waterline in afternoon trade.

The Dow officially crossed the 26,000 milestone early Tuesday, but it was unable to hold on to the record and  finished in the red.  But, on Wednesday the stock index returned to its winning ways, and moved higher starting in the pre-bell session.

On Wednesday morning there was a batch of earnings and economic data for traders to contend with. Before the market open Wednesday, earnings were released from some major financial nameplates including Goldman Sachs (GS) and Bank of America (BAC).

Bank of America’s fourth-quarter profit fell with the company taking a $2.9 billion charge related to the new tax law, but excluding this charge, earnings topped estimates, at 48 cents per share compared with analysts’ estimates of 44 cents.

Goldman Sachs also took a one time charge due tax reform, of $4.40 billion. Excluding the one-off charge and other items, the bank recorded earnings per share of $5.68. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were looking for earnings of $4.91 per share. It was unclear if the bank’s reported result and the consensus analyst estimate were comparable.

The Federal Reserve reported Wednesday industrial output increased 0.9% in December, topping the Reuters compiled economic forecast for 0.4%.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index slipped to 72 this month, down two points from December. However, according to Reuters, December’s reading was the highest level of optimism in over 18 years.

The Fed’s Beige Book is due out Wednesday afternoon.