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Overnight Markets: Tech stocks help Wall Street close higher

Overnight Markets: Tech stocks help Wall Street close higher

Wall Street indexes closed higher on Monday, led by technology and energy stocks as oil prices rose and investors waited for an expected US Federal Reserve rate increase later in the week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 57 points, or 0.23%, to 24,386, the S&P 500 gained nine points, or 0.32%, to 2,660 and the Nasdaq Composite added 35 points, or 0.51%, to 6,875.

The Fed is scheduled to issue an interest rate policy update Wednesday. Economists expect the central bank to lift short-term rates by 0.25 of a point. That would be the third interest rate hike by the central bank this year.

Most of the 11 major S&P sectors ended higher, with the biggest boost from a 0.8% gain in information technology stocks. The S&P energy index rose 0.71% as oil prices rose after a North Sea pipeline shut for repairs.

Technology stocks received the biggest boost from Apple Inc (AAPL.O) as investors eyed a continuation of strong fundamentals in the sector. Symantec rose 4.4%. Apple went up 1.9% after the website Apple Insider said the company is delivering new iPhones to customers at a faster pace.

Solid gains by healthcare companies also helped lift the market. Allergan climbed 3%. The S&P’s financial and industrial sectors were the benchmark’s only decliners for the day with losses of around 0.2%.

Shares of Bluebird Bio (BLUE.O) closed up 17.9% following news of positive responses in an early stage myeloma study of its experimental gene-modifying immunotherapy drug co-developed with Celgene. Shares rose 1.8%.

Shares of Marathon Patent (MARA.O) rose 42.9% while Xunlei (XNET.O) climbed 29.4%. Riot Blockchain (RIOT.O) added about 45.5%.

In Asia, shares took a breather on Tuesday in morning session after three straight sessions of gains, with markets consolidating in the hope an upswing in global growth could outlast a likely hike in US borrowing costs this week.

Japan’s Topix index added 0.3%, with banks and technology companies advancing. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average was little changed at a 26-year high.

The Kospi index fell 0.5% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was flat. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.2%. The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.1%.

 

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