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US: Stocks add to records ahead of Fed minutes

[NEW YORK] Shares of technology and energy companies were among the standouts early Wednesday as US stocks pushed higher ahead of the release of the Federal Reserve's meeting minutes.

Leading indices added to records set Tuesday amid a trove of US economic data Wednesday morning, and the Fed's December meeting minutes later in the day, which will provide a look at the latest interest rate increase.

About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 24,863.87, up 0.2 per cent.

The broad-based S&P 500 also advanced 0.2 per cent to 2,701.72, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.3 per cent to 7,030.82 after closing above the 7,000 mark for the first time on Tuesday.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq ended at records in the first trading session of 2018, in a continuation of the bullish momentum that took markets to repeat records in 2017.

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Tech giants Apple, Facebook and Google-parent Alphabet all rose. Many leading energy shares including Apache and ConocoPhillips also advanced on higher oil prices in the wake of unrest in Iran.

US economic data on the schedule Wednesday include construction spending for November, the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing industry index, and US auto sales.

South Carolina utility company SCANA surged 24.2 per cent after striking a deal worth US$14.6 billion to be acquired by Dominion Energy. The transaction includes a US$1.7 billion write-off for SCANA's shuttered South Carolina nuclear projects. Dominion dropped 4.4 per cent.


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