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US stocks close modestly higher; S&P 500, Dow hit new highs

The New York Stock Exchange on Jan. 25,

The New York Stock Exchange on Jan. 25, 2017. Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Timothy A. Clary

Technology companies led U.S. stocks modestly higher Monday, driving the market to another set of milestones.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index and Dow Jones industrial average finished at new highs. Both indexes also hit record highs on Friday.

Solid gains by health care companies also helped lift the market, outweighing losses among banks and industrial stocks. Energy stocks rose along with the price of crude oil.

Investors had their eye on bitcoin futures, which made their market debut. But traders were mostly looking ahead to the outcome of Wednesday’s meeting of Federal Reserve policymakers.

“The market is kind of in a holding pattern, just sort of waiting for the Fed meeting,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading & derivatives at Charles Schwab.

The S&P 500 index rose 0.3 percent, to 2,659.99. The index has risen on a weekly basis the past three weeks. The Dow gained 56.87 points, or 0.2 percent, to 24,386.03. The Nasdaq composite added 0.5 percent, to 6,875.08. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks slipped 0.1 percent, to 1,519.84.

“The Fed sees enough strength in the overall economy, despite the lack of inflation, to still go ahead and continue to hike rates,” Frederick said. — AP

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