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Overnight Markets: S&P 500 touches 2,000 mark for first time

Overnight Markets: S&P 500 touches 2,000 mark for first time

Wall Street rose on Monday, briefly sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index above 2,000 for the first time ever buoyed by financials and biotechnology stocks, as prospects for economic stimulus in Europe bolstered confidence in the bull market.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 76 points or 0.44%, to 17,077, 6.87, the S&P 500 gained 10 points or 0.48%, to 1,998 and the Nasdaq Composite added 19 points or 0.41%, to 4,557.

Shares gained despite cautious signals investors, including a reduction in stimulus from the Federal Reserve and a simmering conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

In the latest economic data, data on both the US services sector and the housing market came in below forecasts but indicated the economy remains on a solid growth path.

Biotech stocks, which have recovered from a sharp drop earlier this year to become a primary driver of recent equity gains, continued to outperform on Monday.

InterMune shares jumped 35.4% to help lift the sector after it agreed to be acquired by Roche Holding AG for $8.3 billion in cash.

Financial shares were among the strongest of the day, rising on expectations Europe may see more aggressive monetary stimulus. Morgan Stanley, which has heavy exposure to Europe, rose 2.2% while Goldman Sachs Group Inc was up 1.4%.

In deal news, Burger King is in talks to take over Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons Inc. Shares of Burger King jumped 19.5% while US shares of Tim Hortons shot up 18.9%.

In Asia, shares were little changed on Tuesday in morning trade after valuations on the regional benchmark index climbed to the highest level this year.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid less than 0.1% to 149 as of 9:38 a.m. in Hong Kong. Japan’s Topix index fell 0.3% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index declined 0.1%. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.3% percent and Singapore’s Straits Times Index declined 0.2%.

South Korea’s Kospi index rose 0.3%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.1% and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index added 0.4%. Taiwan’s Taiex Index rose 0.2%.

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