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Dow nears 20,000 as familiar tech and retail names climb

Major U.S. stock indexes are reaching record highs Tuesday as big-name technology companies like Apple trade higher and energy companies extend a recent winning streak. The Dow Jones industrial average traded above 19,900 for the first time. The Federal Reserve began its last policy meeting of the year, and it’s widely expected to announce an increase in interest rates on Wednesday.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 124 points, or 0.6 percent, to 19,920 as of 2:05 p.m. Eastern time. The blue-chip index is up for the seventh day in a row and peaked at 19,953. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index picked up 17 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,273. The Nasdaq composite climbed 66 points, or 1.2 percent, to 5,488. The Russell 2000 index of small company stocks picked up 2 points to 1,375.

THE QUOTE: J.J. Kinahan, TD Ameritrade’s chief strategist, said stocks have surged since the presidential election because after a long campaign, investors have a better idea which policies the country will adopt.

“The biggest questions hanging over us are gone,” Kinahan said. He added that investors in technology companies may be looking forward to tax changes that will encourage them to bring more cash back to the U.S. and invest it in their businesses or return it to shareholders.

ENERGY: Energy companies rose for the fifth consecutive day. While the price of oil didn’t move much, investors were encouraged that two important groups of oil producers have agreed to reduce production. Energy stocks have risen nine of the last 10 days, taking only a small loss a week ago. Noble Energy advanced $1.71, or 4.3 percent, to $41.55 and Exxon Mobil climbed $1.80, or 2 percent, to $92.79.

Benchmark U.S. crude picked up 19 cents to $53.02 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, added 5 cents to $55.74 a barrel in London. Oil is trading at its highest price in more than a year after a group of oil-producing nations said they would cut production, backing up a recent deal by the nations in OPEC.

TECH IS TOPS: Some of the largest gains belong to companies that have lagged the market during its post-election rally, like technology and health care companies. Apple added $2.33, or 2.1 percent, to $115.63 and IBM was the biggest gainer on the Dow, as it picked up $3.31, or 2 percent, to $168.81. Hepatitis C drug maker Gilead Sciences gained $2.13, or 2.9 percent, to $75.13 and Amgen rose $3.23, or 2.2 percent, to $148.99.

Meanwhile companies that have performed very well over the last five weeks took some losses. Materials companies fell, as copper and gold producer Freeport-McMoRan gave up 27 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $15.09 and fertilizer maker Mosaic slid 87 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $29.37. Banks and industrial companies were little changed.

DRINK TO THAT: Japanese brewer Asahi Group said it will pay $7.8 billion to buy five beer brands in Eastern Europe from Anheuser-Busch InBev, the maker of Budweiser. The brands include Pilsner Urquell. In October AB InBev bought rival SABMiller, and during those negotiations Asahi bought a group of Western European brands including Peroni and Grolsch. AB InBev picked up $1.39, or 1.3 percent, to $105.08.

FED WATCH: Investors expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates when it ends a policy meeting Wednesday. The central bank last raised interest rates a year ago. It’s kept rates ultra-low since the 2008 financial crisis, but its leaders have suggested the U.S. economy is improving enough to start gradually raising rates. Low interest rates have helped drive stock prices higher but they also punish savers who look for income from bank accounts and bonds.

CONSUMER CLIMBERS: Consumer-focused companies rose more than the rest of the market. Online retailer Amazon rose $20.37, or 2.7 percent, to $780.49 and shoe and athletic apparel maker Nike jumped 91 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $52.45. Newell Brands, which owns brands including Rubbermaid, Elmer’s and Mr. Coffee, picked up $1.16, or 2.5 percent, to $47.64.

HIGH FLIER: JetBlue Airways rose after the company gave a stronger-than-expected guidance for a key revenue measure and reported improvement in November. Its stock gained $1.16, or 5.4 percent, to $22.78.

BONDS: U.S. government bond prices held steady. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note remained 2.48 percent, its highest level since June 2015.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 115.31 yen from 115.12 yen. The euro fell to $1.0621 from $1.0630.

METALS: Gold fell $6.80 to $1,159 an ounce. Silver lost 21 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $16.98 an ounce. Copper fell 2 cents to $2.60 a pound.

OVERSEAS: The FTSE MIB in Italy jumped 2.5 percent and UniCredit, the largest Italian lender, soared 16 percent after it said it will unload $18.8 billion in soured loans, raise billions in cash, and cut thousands more jobs. Germany’s DAX rose 0.8 percent and the French CAC-40 was gained 0.9 percent. In Britain, the FTSE 100 rose 1.1 percent. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.5 percent. The Kospi in South Korea climbed 0.4 percent and the Hang Seng of Hong Kong added 0.1 percent.


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