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Stocks tick higher as health care companies rise

A trader works on the floor at the

A trader works on the floor at the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street on Sept. 16, 2016. Credit: EPA / Justin Lane

U.S. stocks inched higher Tuesday in another cautious day of trading as investors kept an eye on central banks in the U.S. and Japan. Health care and household goods companies led the way while energy companies slipped.

Major market indexes were higher all day, but returned most of those gains at the close of trading. They rose just enough cancel out Monday’s small losses.

Drug companies helped health care stocks make some modest gains, while Exxon Mobil fell on reports it’s being investigated by securities regulators. Bond yields slipped and the dollar was little changed as investors waited decisions from the Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan.

Since investors doubt the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates Wednesday, they may focus instead on the Fed’s statement and a press conference led by Fed Chair Janet Yellen.

“The Fed, until they raise rates, are going to be the primary focus of the markets,” said J.J. Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 9.79 points, or 0.1 percent, to 18,129.96. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 0.64 points to 2,139.76. The Nasdaq composite picked up 6.33 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,241.35.


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