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Stocks rise after strong forecasts

NEW YORK (AP)  A big jump for Wal-Mart helped the Dow Jones industrial average set a record Tuesday, while gains for other retailers and airlines sent other stock indexes higher as well.

Airlines rose following strong forecasts from American and United. Utilities and smaller companies also climbed, while banks edged higher as investors prepared for the financial sector to start reporting its third-quarter results in a few days. Wal-Mart notched its biggest gain in almost a year and a half after the company said it expects its digital sales to rise 40 percent in its next fiscal year. It also plans to buy back $20 billion in stock over two years. 

Wal-Mart has invested billions in its e-commerce business in recent years. Katie Nixon, chief investment officer for Northern Trust Wealth Management, said Wal-Mart's online business is critical to its survival, so investors were glad to see signs of success.

"There's very little retail loyalty now," she said. "Consumers just want choice, price and convenience."

The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 5.91 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,550.64. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 69.61 points, or 0.3 percent, to 22,830.68. Wal-Mart was responsible for almost half of that gain. The Nasdaq composite picked up 7.52 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,587.25. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 4.44 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,508.01.

Wal-Mart bought online retailer Jet for $3 billion last year and has also snapped up ModCloth and Bonobos and is aiming to expand online grocery sales as well. On Tuesday Wal-Mart Stores gained $3.60, or 4.5 percent, to $84.13. Target rose $1.35, or 2.4 percent, to $57.60 and Amazon declined $3.79 to $987.20 after a four-day winning streak.

Airlines rose after American raised an important revenue forecast and United Continental predicted bigger profit margins. Airlines have been stung by a series of hurricanes that affected the Southeastern U.S. over the last few months. Investors are worried about extensive discounts on ticket prices, but so far their third-quarter results look better than expected.

United jumped $3.02, or 4.7 percent, to $67.72 and American rose $2.43, or 4.8 percent, to $53.03. Delta gave a positive update of its own a week ago, and on Tuesday it added 96 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $52.70.

Chipmaker Nvidia will work with Deutsche Post DHL to start testing autonomous delivery trucks in 2018. The stock rose $3.54, or 1.9 percent, to $188.93. Nvidia is up 10-fold over the past three years.

Automotive parts and electronics maker Delphi slumped. Delphi has announced several partnerships to develop and test autonomous cars, including a pact with a French transport company. It lost $1.50, or 1.5 percent, to $98.62. Intel, one of Delphi's partners in that business, shed 21 cents to $39.65.

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