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Overnight Markets: Banks help S&P 500, Dow scale new highs

Declines in technology heavyweights, including Apple and Facebook, dragged on the Nasdaq.

Overnight Markets: Banks help S&P 500, Dow scale new highs

The Standard & Poor's 500 index and the Dow Jones industrial average registered record closing highs on Tuesday with a boost from bank stocks, while a slide in technology stocks pulled the Nasdaq lower.

The S&P 500 index rose four points, or 0.2%, to 2,664. The Dow gained 119 points, or 0.5%, to 24,505. The Nasdaq lost 13 points, or 0.2%, to 6,862.

The financial sector was the biggest driver with a 1.2% as the Federal Reserve met to discuss interest rates. The Fed is expected to raise rates again on Wednesday. Wells Fargo added 2.5%.

The healthcare sector added 0.5%, while the telecom index was the biggest percentage gainer with a 2.4% jump.

Boeing - the biggest boost for the Dow - was last up 2.8% after saying it would raise its quarterly dividend by 20% and announced an $18 billion share buyback authorisation.

Declines in technology heavyweights, including Apple and Facebook, dragged on the Nasdaq. Micron Technology slid 2.7%.

Elsewhere, Tesla was up 2.7% after PepsiCo reserved 100 of company’s new electric Semi trucks.

Comcast shares rose 2.4% after the cable operator abandoned its bid for most of the assets of Twenty-First Century Fox, leaving Walt Disney as the sole suitor of the $40 billion-plus deal.

Several shopping mall owners closed higher after Australian company Westfield agreed to be bought by France's Unibail-Rodamco for $15.7 billion. Macerich gained 5%, while Simon Property Group added 2.5%. GGP picked up 1.6%.

Urban Outfitters rose after the retailer issued a positive update on its fourth-quarter sales. The stock added 0.3%.

In Asia, stocks lacked direction in early trading on Wednesday as investors awaited the interest rates decision from the US Fed later in the day.

The Kospi Composite index in Seoul was the best performer in the region, up 0.4%. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was flat, while Japan’s Topix was off 0.1%. The Nikkei 225 was also down 0.26%.

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