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US STOCKS-S&P 500 tops 2,700 on tech advance; Dow, Nasdaq hit records

From Reuters - January 3, 2018

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The S&P 500 index rose above 2,700 for the first time on Wednesday and other major indexes hit record closing highs as technology stocks climbed after signs of robust economic growth.

Stocks added slightly to gains late, with some support from minutes from the Federal Reserves last policy meeting showing the U.S. central bank would likely stick to gradual interest rate hikes this year.

They reiterated gradual rate increases, so thats steady as she goes, which the stock market seems to like, said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.

Earlier in the session, data showed U.S. factory activity increased more than expected in December, a sign of economic momentum at the end of 2017. Meanwhile, manufacturing surveys pointed to a strong start for the European economy.

For technology stocks, Alphabet Inc, IBM and chipmakers were among the biggest drivers. The S&P 500 tech index, the best-performing S&P sector in 2017 with a 37 percent jump, ended the day up 1.1 percent.

U.S. chipmaker stocks surged for a second straight session, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor index up 1.7 percent in its strongest two-day performance since June 2016.

The (recent) selloff in tech stocks may have made that group look attractive today given that theres still significant growth potential there both short term and long term, Hellwig said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 98.67 points, or 0.4 percent, to 24,922.68, the S&P 500 gained 17.25 points, or 0.64 percent, to 2,713.06 and the Nasdaq Composite added 58.63 points, or 0.84 percent, to 7,065.53.

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