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Overnight Markets: Financial sector leads Wall Street higher

Overnight Markets: Financial sector leads Wall Street higher

US stocks gained on Tuesday, extending a two-day advance in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as data pointing to higher inflation lifted financial shares and smaller companies rallied before the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decision on Wednesday.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 27 points or 0.16%, to end at 16,808. The S&P 500 gained four points or 0.22%, to 1,942. The Nasdaq Composite added 16 points or 0.37%, to 4,337.

US President Barack Obama considered options for military action in response to a Sunni militant onslaught in Iraq. Market participants are closely monitoring the violence there, worried that it could lead to high oil prices for an extended period. Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) fell 0.5%.

The Consumer Price Index rose 0.4% in May, the biggest gain in more than a year, pushing investors to sell some US government debt.

Financial sector was the day’s biggest gainer, with E*Trade Financial (ETFC.O) up 7.7%, while Charles Schwab Corp (SCHW.N) climbed 5.5%.

Expedia Inc (EXPE.O) rose 4.1%, while Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) added 3.1%. Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR.O) gained 4.6%.

Shares of Adobe Systems Inc (ADBE.O) rose 6.2% in after-hours trading after the software company reported its second-quarter results and gave a strong outlook.

Medtronic Inc. (MDT) advanced 2.6% as brokers including Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse Group AG raised their ratings on the company.

Edwards Lifesciences rose 4.6% after the US Food and Drug Administration approved the company’s Sapien XT heart valve.

The Fed began its two-day policy meeting yesterday and is widely expected to conclude with another $10 billion cut of its monthly bond purchases. In other economic data released on Tuesday, housing starts and building permits fell more than expected in May.

In Asia, most stocks advanced on Wednesday, led by health-care shares, ahead of the Fed monetary policy decision today.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 0.1% to 144 as of 9:52 a.m. in Hong Kong. Japan’s Topix index gained 0.4%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index and the Shanghai Composite both slid 0.1%.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was little changed and South Korea’s Kospi index declined 0.3%. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index retreated 0.2%. Taiwan’s Taiex Index and Singapore’s Straits Times Index both added 0.1%.

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