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After a stumble, US stocks finish slightly higher

A board above the floor of the NYSE

A board above the floor of the NYSE shows the closing number for the Dow Jones Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. Credit: AP

Stocks overcame a brief stumble to close slightly higher Wednesday, snapping a two-day losing streak.

The dip came after the Federal Reserve released its latest statement on interest rate policy and the economy, in which the central bank signaled that it expects inflation to pick up this year. The Fed, as expected, held off on raising interest rates.

Stocks bounced back in the last hour of trading, with gains by technology companies outweighing losses in health care and other sectors.

The latest batch of strong earnings from big companies, including Boeing, helped put investors back in a buying mood a day after the market had its biggest drop since August.

“The markets have turned around,” said Erik Davidson, chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank. “Many people have been waiting for it to dip as it’s marched higher and higher, and we finally had two days of weakness, particularly yesterday.”

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 1.38 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,823.81. The Dow Jones industrial average added 72.50 points, or 0.3 percent, to 26,149.39. The Nasdaq composite climbed 9 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,411.48. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 7.83 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,574.98.

Bond prices didn’t move much. The yield on the 10-year Treasury remained at 2.72 percent after briefly moving higher.