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Overnight Markets: S&P 500 ends rally amid valuation concerns

Overnight Markets: S&P 500 ends rally amid valuation concerns

Wall Street finished nearly flat on Tuesday, although the Dow eked out another record closing high, as utilities' shares declined and investors weighed equity valuations.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose three points or 0.02%, to 16,946, a record closing high. The S&P 500 finished flat at 1,951. The Nasdaq Composite added two points or 0.04%, to 4,338.

Economic data yesterday showed US wholesale inventories increased 1.1% in April, more than the 0.6% gain estimated by economists. A separate report showed job openings rose to 4.5 million in April from 4.17 million in March.

Shares declined led by the utilities sector. EBay (EBAY.O) fell 2.7%, ranking as the second-biggest drag on the S&P 500. The stock's slide came after news late Monday that David Marcus, who has led eBay's fast-growing payments unit PayPal for the past two years, will step down this month to run Facebook's (FB.O) messaging products. Facebook shares rose 4.6%.

Besides Facebook, other momentum stocks ranked among the day's biggest outperformers, including Netflix Inc (NFLX.O), up 1.2%.

Achillion Pharmaceuticals Inc (ACHN.O) was among the Nasdaq's most-active names, surging 83.3%. The company said on Tuesday that the US Food and Drug Administration let it resume the development of one of its hepatitis C drugs.

The biotech sector got a lift from Receptos Inc (RCPT.O), which shot up 36.8% after the company's experimental multiple sclerosis drug met its main goal in a mid-stage trial.

Elsewhere, RadioShack Corp. plunged 10% after reporting a wider quarterly loss. Molson Coors Brewing Co. jumped 5.4% for the biggest gain in the equities benchmark. Electronic Arts Inc. added 2.3% after disclosing release dates for new games.

In Asia, shares declined on Wednesday in late morning session as investors weighed valuations following a four-day rally and after the World Bank cuts its global economic growth forecast.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index Excluding Japan Index lost 0.1% to 494 as of 10:11 a.m. in Hong Kong after closing yesterday at its highest since May 2011. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index lost 0.2% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.3%.

Taiwan’s Taiex index and China’s Shanghai Composite Index were little changed. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slipped 0.4%, while Singapore’s Straits Times dropped 0.2%. South Korea’s Kospi index added 0.2% and Japan’s Topix index rose 0.4% after sliding 0.5% yesterday.

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