Dow surpasses 26,000 in record time

The Dow Jones industrial average had pulled back a bit in afternoon trade Tuesday, after it crossed the 26,000 point milestone shortly after opening bell.

The latest 1,000 point milestone was reached in a record-setting seven sessions, with the move breaking the previous record of 23 sessions when the Dow moved from 24,000 to 25,000 points.

On Tuesday, a big chunk of the Dow’s gains could be attributed to UnitedHealth Group (UNH), whose shares were higher after the company, pre-market reported a big fourth quarter earnings and revenue beat.

Last Friday, stocks booked their second-straight week of gains and ended at record levels. Adding extra impetus to the markets last week was the latest batch of earnings and economic data. Earnings season is officially underway, and last week some major financial nameplates released their quarterly results.

When it comes to the Dow’s rally since it crossed 25,000, three stocks have accounted for more than half of the index’s gains. They are Boeing (BA), Caterpillar (CAT) and United Technologies (UTX).

The S&P 500, the Nasdaq and the Russell 2000 also hit all-time highs on Tuesday.