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Overnight Markets: S&P 500 hits record on Fed bets amid budget talks

Overnight Markets: S&P 500 hits record on Fed bets amid budget talks

Wall Street gained on Monday, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index scaling a fresh record, as traders awaited more clues from the Federal Reserve on the timing of any cuts to stimulus amid budget negotiations in Washington.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained five points or 0.03%, to finish at 16,026. The S&P 500 gained three points or 0.18%, to end at 1,808, a record closing high. The Nasdaq Composite added six points or 0.15%, to close at 4,069.

Speeches from several policymakers on Monday signalled Fed may be closer than previously thought to trimming its $85 billion a month in bond purchases. Economists expect the US central bank to begin trimming its quantitative easing programme in March, according to a Reuters poll. The policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee will hold its final meeting of 2013 on 17-18 December.

Twitter's stock jumped 9.3%, closing at its highest level since the company went public in early November.

In deal news, Sysco Corp (SYY.N) climbed 9.7% after the food distributor said it would buy rival US Foods for about $3.5 billion and assume about $4.7 billion in debt to create a company with about $65 billion in annual revenue.

On the other hand, McDonald's (MCD.N) fell 1.1% after the fast-food restaurant chain reported weaker-than-expected global sales at established restaurants for November.

Edwards Lifesciences Corp (EW.N) fell 5.4% after the company forecast 2014 earnings below analysts' estimates.

Gilead Sciences Inc. added 1.6% after getting approval for a hepatitis C pill that may generate more than $6 billion in annual sales.

Financial stocks gained a day before five US agencies will finish the Volcker rule. JP Morgan Chase & Co. climbed 0.8% and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. added 0.3%.

In Asia, shares oscillated between gains and losses on Monday in late morning trade as investors await data on Chinese industrial production.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid less than 0.1% to 141 at 9:40 a.m. in Hong Kong. Japan’s Topix index lost 0.1% and South Korea’s Kospi index dropped 0.4%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.7% and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index climbed 0.1%. Singapore’s Straits Times Index and Taiwan’s Taiex were little changed. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.2% and China’s Shanghai Composite rose 0.1%.

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