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S&P 500 inches close to record as energy stocks rise

Traders Ryan Falvey, left, and Michael Milano work

Traders Ryan Falvey, left, and Michael Milano work on the floor of the NYSE, Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017.  Credit: AP / Richard Drew

Rising energy stocks helped nudge the Standard & Poor’s 500 close to its record high, but drops for smaller stocks left stock indexes mixed on Wednesday.

Markets around the world were broadly higher as investors got more evidence that the global economy is strengthening and corporate profits are climbing. The Federal Reserve said the U.S. economy is rising “at a solid rate,” even with damage from recent hurricanes, as it announced a decision to hold interest rates steady at their low levels.

The S&P 500 rose 0.16 percent to 2,579.36. Earlier in the day, it had climbed above its record closing high of 2,581.07 set last week.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 57.77 points to 23,435.01. Other indexes weakened. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.17 percent to 6,716.53. The small-cap Russell 2000 index dropped 0.67 percent, to 1,492.78.

Energy stocks led the market, and those in the S&P 500 rose 1.1 percent for the biggest gain among the sectors that make up the index. They climbed after the price of oil topped $55 per barrel to touch its highest level since Jan. 3, though it backtracked as the day went on.

Estee Lauder jumped to the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after strong sales growth in China and Hong Kong helped it to report a bigger profit than analysts expected. It rose $10.31, or 9.22 percent, to $122.12.

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