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Published: Thu, September 21, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Wall Street clings to records, helped by banks; tech falters

Wall Street clings to records, helped by banks; tech falters

The S&P 500 .SPX gained 1.59 points, or 0.06 percent, to 2,508.24, clocking its sixth record closing high in the last seven sessions.

US stock index futures pointed to a mixed open on Wednesday morning, as traders appeared to adopt a wait-and-see approach ahead of monetary policy guidance from the Federal Reserve.

At 9:39am ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.57 point, or 0%, at 22,371.37, the S&P was up 1 point, or 0.04%, at 2,507.65 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 2.18 points, or 0.03%, at 6,459.14. Despite the choppy trading, the Dow reached a new record intraday high.

The Federal Reserve said it would leave interest rates unchanged today, but that a hike remains likely before the end of the year.

The Fed's interest-rate projections, known as the so-called dot plot, suggests an interest-rate hike in December and three more in 2018.

In line with expectations the Fed said it would begin in October to cut its roughly $4.2 trillion in U.S. Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities holdings by initially cutting up to $10 billion each month from the amount of maturing securities it reinvests.

Wall Street moved higher, paring some gains after rallying to record highs amid optimism about the United States economic outlook and corporate profits, as investors eyed a meeting by the Federal Reserve which is set to tighten monetary policy. Fed chair Janet Yellen will hold a press conference half an hour later, which will be closely watched for views on inflation.

On the USA economic front, the Commerce Department released a report showing an unexpected decrease in new residential construction in the month of August.

NAR said existing home sales slumped by 1.7% to an annual rate of 5.35 million in August after tumbling by 1.3% to a rate of 5.44 million in July.

Biotechnology stocks are seeing considerable strength, however, with the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index climbing by 1.5 percent.

On the earnings front, General Mills is scheduled to report before the bell while Herman Miller is due to report after the market close. Economists had expected import prices to rise by 0.4 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the upside on the day.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a lackluster performance during trading on Wednesday.

Crude-oil prices rose to a four-month high to settle at (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/crude-prices-rise-on-signs-of-drop-in-global-inventories-2017-09-20) $50.41 a barrel, while gold futures ended higher at $1,316.40 an ounce, but pulled back somewhat in electronic trade (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-prices-pause-losing-skid-as-fed-signals-awaited-2017-09-20) after the Fed decision.

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