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US STOCKS-Discretionary stocks prop up Wall Street
January 4, 2017 / 4:32 PM / a year ago

US STOCKS-Discretionary stocks prop up Wall Street

* Fed to release minutes at 2:00 p.m. ET

* Ford, GM rise on December U.S. auto sales

* Comcast top stock on Nasdaq

* Indexes up: Dow 0.10 pct, S&P 0.37 pct, Nasdaq 0.55 pct (Adds details, comments, updates prices)

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

Jan 4 (Reuters) - Wall Street extended its gains into the second trading day of the new year, supported by consumer discretionary stocks, as investors awaited minutes of the Federal Reserve’s December meeting where it raised interest rates.

The central bank had cited strength in the labor market and a slight uptick in inflation among reasons for its move.

Investors will pore over the minutes, due at 2:00 p.m. ET (1900 GMT), to assess Fed policymakers’ view on the economy and the incoming administration.

With just over two weeks left before President-elect Donald Trump takes office, investors are on the watch for more details on his proposed policies such as tax cuts and higher fiscal spending.

However, Wednesday appeared to be one the rare days when trading was not dictated by the Trump trade, which has lifted sectors such as banks and industrials in the past two months and taken the Dow within arm’s length of the historic 20,000 mark.

“The dispersion we are seeing today, where correlations are broken down and people are making investment decisions based on incoming data, is a very positive shift in the market,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Equity Capital Markets in New York.

At 10:54 a.m. ET (1554 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 20.05 points, or 0.1 percent, at 19,901.81, the S&P 500 was up 8.37 points, or 0.37 percent, at 2,266.2 and the Nasdaq Composite index was up 29.72 points, or 0.55 percent, at 5,458.81.

The S&P 500 consumer discretionary sector rose 1.1 percent, mainly due to gains in automakers.

Both General Motors and Ford rose more than 4 percent after posting positive U.S. sales in December.

Nine of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, with gains in safe-havens utilities and real estate following the rise in discretionary names.

Agile Therapeutics lost 55 percent of its value in heavy trading, hitting a record low, after the company provided an update on its contraceptive patch trial.

Comcast rose 1.1 percent after Macquarie raised its price target.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,307 to 533. On the Nasdaq, 2,064 issues rose and 623 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 14 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 77 new highs and 13 new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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