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Stocks drift to record highs as tech, health care shares rise

Federal Hall's George Washington statue stands near the

Federal Hall's George Washington statue stands near the flag-covered pillars of the NYSE on July 8, 2015.  Credit: AP / Bebeto Matthews

U.S. stock indexes drifted back to record highs Wednesday as investors got ready for another round of corporate reports to begin. Technology, health care and household goods companies all rose.

Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s September meeting showed officials were split about whether they need to raise interest rates again soon. But they appeared to be getting used to the idea that inflation is going to stay lower than they had hoped. For years it’s come up short of their 2-percent target.

Kristina Hooper, global markets strategist for Invesco, said one reason for that low inflation is continued fallout from the financial crisis a decade ago. In her view, many of the jobs that were lost after the 2008-09 meltdown were replaced by lower-paying ones.

“There are still a good portion of Americans who are making less today than they made before the global financial crisis,” she said. “That’s playing a role in lower wage growth and low inflation.”

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 0.2 percent, to 2,555.24. The Dow Jones industrial average added 42.21 points, or 0.2 percent, to 22,872.89. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.2 percent, to 6,603.55. All three indexes finished at all-time highs. — AP

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