Wall Street rose, pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average above 20,000 for the first time, amid better-than-expected quarterly earnings and fresh optimism about US President Donald Trump's plans to boost growth.

Wall Street gained, along with equities in Europe and Asia. In 1.22pm trading in New York, the Dow traded 0.8 per cent higher, as did the Nasdaq Composite Index. In 1.07pm trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 0.7 per cent.

The Dow rose as high as a record 20,082.00 earlier in the session.

"With a swift move towards signing executive orders, coupled with underlying positive economic data, clarity has begun to hit the headlines, and all the US indexes are celebrating," Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial, told Bloomberg.

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"Clarity is the markets' oxygen."

Advances in shares of Boeing and those of Caterpillar, up 4.8 per cent and 2.2 per cent respectively, led the gains in the Dow.

Shares of Boeing rose to a record high after the plane maker offered a better-than-expected outlook on earnings. It forecast operating cash flow to rise to about US$10.75 billion in 2017, up from US$10.5 billion the previous year.

"With solid fourth quarter operating performance and a sharp strategic focus, we extended our aerospace market leadership in our centennial year and positioned Boeing for continued growth and success in our second century," Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg said in a statement.

Of the 104 S&P 500 companies that have reported results so far, nearly 70 per cent have surpassed earnings expectations, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Some remain cautious.

With a swift move towards signing executive orders, coupled with underlying positive economic data, clarity has begun to hit the headlines, and all the US indexes are celebrating.

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"With so much uncertainty over the policy agenda of the incoming Trump administration, and the populist tone of his inauguration speech, we remain skeptical over whether the reality of the reflation story will match investors' expectations," HSBC strategists wrote in a note, Bloomberg reported.

In the latest corporate deal, Cisco Systems said it agreed to buy San Francisco-based AppDynamics, a business software company, for about US$3.7 billion. Cisco shares traded 0.4 percent higher at US$30.72 as of 1.29pm in New York after earlier rising as high as US$31.05.

AppDynamics was scheduled to price its initial public offering Wednesday in this year's first major US technology IPO, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index finished the session with a 1.3 per cent increase from the previous close, led by a rally in banks and insurers. The UK's FTSE 100 Index rose 0.2 per cent, France's CAC 40 Index gained 1 per cent, while Germany's DAX Index rallied 1.8 per cent.