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Overnight Markets: Wall Street begins 2018 on a high note

Gains were driven the most by technology, but consumer discretionary, healthcare, energy and materials sectors were also up.

 
Overnight Markets: Wall Street begins 2018 on a high note

US stocks rallied on Tuesday, pushing the S&P 500 and Nasdaq to record closing highs, led by technology and health care companies amid optimism that 2018 will bring more gains for the market.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 105 points, or 0.42%, to 24,824. The S&P 500 rose 22 points, or 0.83%, to 2,696. The Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 104 points, or 1.50%, to 7,007.

Gains were driven the most by technology, but consumer discretionary, healthcare, energy and materials sectors were also up more than 1% each.

Apple, Facebook, Alphabet and Microsoft pulled the technology index up 1.4%, following a 37% surge last year that made it the best-performing S&P sector.

The S&P consumer discretionary index was up 1.5%, helped by a gain in Amazon.com of 1.7%. Target rose 3.9% and Kohl's picked up 3.9% after a bullish Citigroup note on the retail sector detailed benefits from the corporate tax cuts.

Energy shares were up even though oil prices dipped. Oil hovered near mid-2015 highs amid large anti-government rallies in major exporter Iran and ongoing supply cuts led by OPEC and Russia. The S&P energy index rose 1.8%.

Drug and medical device companies led the health care sector higher. Hepatitis C and HIV drug maker Gilead Sciences gained 3.4%. Abbott Labs jumped 3% and hit an intraday record of $59.20 after two brokerages upgraded the company’s stock to “overweight.” Baxter International gained 3.9%.

Shares of casino operators Wynn Resorts and Melco Resorts & Entertainment were down after a report showed lower-than-expected rise in Macau gambling revenue in December. Shares of Allstate were down 2.7% on a brokerage downgrade.

In Asia, equities extended gains on Wednesday in morning session after a rally in technology companies boosted US stocks to record highs.

South Korea's benchmark Kospi index edged up 0.25%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index edged up 0.27% early in the session after soaring 2% on Tuesday. Mainland markets also trended higher, with the Shanghai Composite advancing 0.18% and the Shenzhen Composite inching up by 0.07%.

Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.13% as mining stocks led the index higher. Japanese markets are closed for an exchange holiday.

 

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