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Overnight Markets: Wall Street advances ahead of Fed meeting

Overnight Markets: Wall Street advances ahead of Fed meeting

US stocks closed modestly higher on Monday, led by banks and tech shares, as investors prepared for a meeting of Federal Reserve policy makers to begin on Tuesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 65 points, or 0.25%, to 25,914, the S&P 500 gained 10 points, or 0.37%, to 2,833 and the Nasdaq Composite added 26 points, or 0.34%, to 7,714.

The Federal Reserve is expected to reinforce its dovish approach towards further interest rate hikes when it concludes a two-day meeting on Wednesday.

Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, eight closed in the positive territory, with energy, consumer discretionary and financial companies enjoying the biggest percentage gains.

The Dow’s fourth straight advance ran into headwinds from Boeing Co, which plunged 1.8% as the company faced increasing scrutiny following a fatal crash in Ethiopia on 10 March.

Energy companies gained after oil prices surged to four-month highs on the prospect of extended OPEC supply cuts. Banking sector rose on the news of upcoming initial public offerings, notably from ride-hailing service Lyft. Goldman Sachs and Citigroup rose 2.1% and 1.1%, respectively.

The communications services sector was the largest percentage loser, weighed down by Facebook Inc., which fell 3.4% after the EU’s deputy head said “at some point, we will have to regulate” big tech and social media companies.

Apple Inc closed up 1.0% after the tech giant surprised investors with the launch of new iPad devices ahead of the company’s expected 25 March launch of a content streaming service.

Shares of Apple supplier Synaptics Inc plummeted 22.6% after Mizuho downgraded it to “neutral” from “buy.”

Amazon.com added 1.7%, leading the consumer discretionary sector’s advance.

Shares of Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc. declined 3.4%, after the wood-flooring retailer announced that its fourth-quarter revenue fell short of Wall Street estimates.

In Asia, shares slipped on Tuesday in morning trade, ahead of a closely watched meeting by the US Fed set to kick off later in the day stateside.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.59%, while the Topix index also declined 0.64%. Over in South Korea, the Kospi shed 0.18%. Meanwhile, Australia’s ASX 200 was 0.2% lower as the sectors mostly declined.

In China, the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.11%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.03%.

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