S&P 500, Nasdaq end higher as investors turn focus to Fed

NEW YORK: US stocks ended slightly higher on Tuesday (Jun 12), boosted by gains in technology and utilities shares, though investors were cautious ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy decision.

The Fed is widely expected to raise interest rates for the second time this year when it concludes its policy meeting on Wednesday.

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Investors are focused on how the Fed characterises its monetary policy, looking for hints if it would move to raise rates three or four times this year.

But shares of S&P 500 utilities, up 1.3 per cent, and technology, up 0.6 per cent, helped to lift the S&P 500.

Investors also awaited a court ruling, which was expected after the closing bell, that would decide the fate of AT&T Inc’s US$85 billion offer for Time Warner. Shares of AT&T ended up 0.5 per cent, while Time Warner was flat and Charter Communications gained 2.8 per cent.

“The Time Warner ruling has ramifications for other potential deals, so I think people are gearing up for that,” said Michael O’Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading in Greenwich, Connecticut.

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Investors appeared to shrug off a historic US-North Korea summit. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged to work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, but their joint statement gave few details on how the goal would be achieved.

While defense stocks such as Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman dipped, the broader markets saw little impact from the summit.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.58 points (0.01 per cent) to 25,320.73, the S&P 500 gained 4.85 points (0.17 per cent) to 2,786.85 and the Nasdaq Composite added 43.87 points (0.57 per cent) to 7,703.79.

Data on Tuesday showed US consumer prices rose marginally in May as gasoline price increases slowed and the underlying trend continued to

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