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Overnight Markets: S&P 500 extends New Year rally

Dow Jones eases as investors were cautious ahead of the fourth-quarter earnings season later this week.

Overnight Markets: S&P 500 extends New Year rally

The S&P 500 extended its New Year rally on Monday although its advance slowed to a crawl as the healthcare and financial sectors weighed and investors took a breather ahead of earnings season.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 13 points, or 0.05%, to 25,283, the S&P 500 gained five points, or 0.17%, to 2,748, and the Nasdaq Composite added 21 points, or 0.29%, to 7,157.

The healthcare sector was the S&P's worst performer on Monday, and investors were cautious about pouring money into bank stocks before the companies kick off the fourth-quarter earnings season later this week.

The healthcare sector ended 0.4% lower. Last week it rose 3.2%. The Nasdaq biotech index fell 1.4%, on track for its biggest one-day percentage decline since mid-December, led by a 3.7% drop in Biogen Inc and a 3.3% decline in Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.

A 0.4% decline in the bank subsector pressured the broader financials index, which fell 0.1%. Investors were waiting for more details about the impact of recent US corporate tax cuts in fourth-quarter earnings calls when the reporting season begins later in the week.

Wells Fargo and Citigroup fell more than 1% while Goldman Sachs declined 1.5%. Utilities were the S&P's biggest percentage gainers.

Caterpillar closed up 2.5%, just below a record high set earlier in the day, after JP Morgan upgraded the stock.

Kohl's Corp rose 4.7% after the department store operator posted far stronger same-store sales for the holidays than its bigger peers.

GoPro Inc shares ended down 12.8% after the company said it would be open to a sale but is not actively pursuing one.

In Asia, share markets rose on Tuesday in morning session after a somewhat quiet session on Wall Street.

Japan's Nikkei 225 added 0.42%, but was off session highs seen earlier, as markets re-opened following a long weekend. Over in Seoul, the Kospi edged up by 0.17%. In Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 was higher by 0.18%.

Greater China markets clung to gains in early trade. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index edged up 0.17%. On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite tacked on 0.07% and the Shenzhen Composite inched higher by 0.1%.

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