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Stocks close with modest gains

A Wall Street sign in front of the

A Wall Street sign in front of the flag-draped facade of the New York Stock Exchange on May 11, 2007. Photo Credit: AP / Richard Drew

Stocks closed with modest gains Wednesday as health care stocks gained after the latest deal in the industry was announced. Investors were also assessing the newly released minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting.

At the close, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 27.1 points, about 0.2 percent, to 17,902.5. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 5.6 points, about 0.3 percent, to nearly 2,082. The Nasdaq composite rose 40.6 points, about 0.8 percent, to 4,950.8.

The price of U.S. benchmark crude oil fell $3.56 to close at $50.42 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Perrigo jumped 18.4 percent, gaining $30.29 to close at $195 a share, after another drugmaker, Mylan, offered to buy the company for about $29 billion. Mylan shares rose 14.8 percent, adding $8.79 to close at $68.36.

The minutes of the March 17 and 18 meeting of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee reveal that several policymakers predicted an interest rate hike in June, while others concerned about low inflation didn't think a rate hike would be warranted until later this year. Still others said the economy wouldn't be strong enough for an increase until 2016.

The Fed's benchmark interest rate has been near zero since December 2008.

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