December 13, 2016 / 2:53 PM / 8 months ago

US STOCKS-Dow, S&P hit record highs; Fed meeting in focus

* Dow less than 1 pct away from hitting 20,000 mark

* Fed begins two-day meeting; statement on Wednesday

* Boeing rises after increasing dividend

* Indexes up: Dow 0.39 pct, S&P 0.45 pct, Nasdaq 0.61 pct (Updates to open)

By Tanya Agrawal

Dec 13 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Dow hit fresh record highs on Tuesday as a post-election rally rolled on, with investors also keeping a close watch on the Federal Reserve's two-day meeting where the central bank is widely expected to lift interest rates.

The Dow is less than 1 percent away from hitting the 20,000 mark for the first time. The blue-chip index has closed at a record high for 15 days since the U.S. election.

President-elect Donald Trump's expected agenda of economic stimulus and reduced taxes and regulations has fueled a market rally, with the S&P 500 rising 5.5 percent since Nov. 8 to Monday's close.

"This market is still in the "Trump-trade" mode where it is anticipating a growth in the economy and the GDP and expects the incoming administration's policies to benefit the labor market," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

A hike of 25 basis points in the Fed's target range of 0.25-0.50 percent is priced in, but investors will be examining the Fed's statement and economic forecasts for signs of the central bank's thinking on how Donald Trump's election has affected the outlook for growth and inflation.

At 9:38 a.m. ET (1438 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was up 76.82 points, or 0.39 percent, at 19,873.25, the S&P 500 was up 10.2 points, or 0.451935 percent, at 2,267.16 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 32.81 points, or 0.61 percent, at 5,445.35.

Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with the telecommunications index's 0.86 percent rise leading the advancers.

U.S. import prices recorded their biggest drop in nine months in November on declining petroleum costs, with renewed dollar strength threatening to keep imported inflation subdued.

The Labor Department said import prices fell 0.3 percent last month after a downwardly revised 0.4 percent gain in October.

Oil prices were little changed, a day after hitting an 18-month high on the back of a production cut pact.

Boeing was up 1.6 percent at $159.70, a day after the aircraft maker raised its dividend and authorized a $14 billion share repurchase.

Inovalon Holdings slumped 37 percent to $9.35. The healthcare data analytics company's fourth-quarter revenue forecast came in below expectations.

Eli Lilly was up 1.1 percent at $68.37 after the drugmaker increased its dividend.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,126 to 539. On the Nasdaq, 1,635 issues rose and 677 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 18 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 87 new highs and 12 new lows. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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