U.S. Stocks Close Modestly Higher; S&P 500, Dow Hit New Highs


Technology companies led U.S. stocks modestly higher Monday, driving the market to another set of milestones.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index and Dow Jones industrial average finished at new highs. Both indexes also hit record highs on Friday.

Solid gains by health care companies also helped lift the market, outweighing losses among banks and industrial stocks. Energy stocks rose with the price of crude oil.

Investors had their eye on bitcoin futures, which made their market debut. But traders were mostly looking ahead to the outcome of Wednesday’s meeting of Federal Reserve policymakers.

The S&P 500 index rose 8.49 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,659.99. The index has risen on a weekly basis the past three weeks. The Dow gained 56.87 points, or 0.2 percent, to 24,386.03. The Nasdaq composite added 35 points, or 0.5 percent, to 6,875.08. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks slipped 1.88 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,519.84.

The Fed is scheduled to issue an interest rate policy update on Wednesday. Economists expect the central bank to lift short-term rates by 0.25 percent. That would be the third interest rate hike by the central bank this year.

Technology companies accounted for much of the market’s gains Monday.

Symantec rose $1.24, or 4.4 percent, to $29.22. Apple gained up 1.9 percent after the website Apple Insider said the company is delivering new iPhones to customers at a faster pace. Apple also made news after it agreed to acquire the Shazam music-identification service for an undisclosed amount. The stock added $3.30 to $172.67.

Allergan led the gainers in the health care sector. The company climbed $4.96, or 3 percent, to $172.76.

Drugmaker Bluebird Bio surged 17.9 percent after it reported results from an early study of a cancer treatment that the company is developing with Celgene. Bluebird gained $30.65 to $201.80. Celgene added $1.91, or 1.8 percent, to $108.

Oil and gas prices rose, boosting energy sector stocks. Chesapeake Energy added 15 cents, or 4.1 percent, to $3.83.

Benchmark U.S. crude gained 63 cents, or 1.1 percent, to settle at $57.99 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, added $1.29, or 2 percent, to close at $64.69 per barrel in London.

Shares in banks and other financial companies declined. Zions Bancorporation shed 99 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $49.94.

Several industrial companies also posted losses, including Verisk Analytics. The stock slid $1.84, or 1.9 percent, to $94.32.

In other energy futures trading, wholesale gasoline picked up 1 cent to $1.73 per gallon, while heating oil gained 2 cents to $1.95 per gallon. Natural gas rose 6 cents, or 2 percent, to $2.83 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold slipped $1.50 to settle at $1,246.90 per ounce, while silver fell 4 cents to $15.79 per ounce. Copper added 3 cents to $3.01 per pound.

Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note held at 2.38 percent.

The dollar edged up to 113.52 yen from 113.51 yen late Friday. The euro rose to $1.1786 from $1.1768.

Major stock indexes in Europe finished mostly lower. Germany’s DAX and the CAC 40 in France each fell 0.2 percent, while Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.8 percent.

Earlier in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.6 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 1.0 percent. The S&P ASX 200 in Australia edged 0.1 percent higher. South Korea’s Kospi picked up 0.3 percent.