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Technology, energy help stocks sustain strong start to 2018

A trader works at the New York Stock

A trader works at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018. Photo Credit: AP / Mark Lennihan

Big gains for technology and health care companies helped U.S. stocks set records again Wednesday. Rising crude and heating oil prices also sent energy companies higher.

Chipmakers including Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices made big gains while Intel skidded following news that its processors have a security flaw that could slow down computers. Energy company Scana, which plunged after it canceled a $9 billion nuclear project and started raising rates to cover its costs, jumped after Dominion Energy agreed to buy it for $7.9 billion in stock.

Energy companies jumped for the second day in a row as oil prices, already at two-and-a-half-year highs, rose again. One reason is that after a pipeline bombing in Libya last month and ongoing anti-government protests in Iran, investors are concerned that oil supplies will get interrupted.

“Something that’s coming back into the market which we’ve been missing over the last few years is this geopolitical risk premium,” said Nick Koutsoftas, portfolio manager at Cohen & Steers.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 17.25 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,713.06. The Dow Jones industrial average added 98.67 points, or 0.4 percent, to 24,922.68. The Nasdaq composite climbed 58.63 points, or 0.8 percent, to 7,065.53. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gained 2.56 points, or 0.2 percent, 1,552.58. All four finished at record highs.

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