(Reuters) – The Dow and the S&P 500 indexes gained on Wednesday, helped by gains in industrial and defensive names, while investors awaited minutes from the Federal Reserve’s meeting after the central bank took a more hawkish tone last month.
Six of the 11 major S&P sectors rose with industrials providing the biggest boost, while energy fell 1.4%, extending declines from the previous session.
The defensive real estate, utilities and consumer staples sectors were among the biggest gainers, as investors sought the safety of government bonds and refrained from making riskier bets ahead of the Fed’s minutes from its June meeting at 2 p.m. ET.
The central bank is expected to offer clues on how it may begin to pare its large bond-buying program amid signs of a quickening economic recovery.
Yields on the U.S. 10-year notes fell to 1.308% and were on track for a seventh straight session of declines, pressuring rate-sensitive banking stocks.
“What the bond market is starting to signal is we’re past peak growth right now in the economy and it is going to slow down from here,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.
“And if interest rates come down or the economy slows, that means the reopening stocks don’t do as well, and technology starts to pick up the mantle and run with it.”
Mega-cap technology names Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc, Amazon.com Inc, Microsoft Corp and Apple Inc gained between 0.1% and 1.5%, as their value rests heavily on future earnings, which are discounted more deeply when bond returns go up.
The S&P 500 growth index is now up 16.6% for the year against a 14.8% rise in its value counterpart, outperforming the latter after more than five months of underperformance.
Wall Street has been concerned over higher inflation, with investors moving between economy-linked value stocks and growth names in the past few sessions.
“Everybody will be looking into them (minutes) to see when this tapering might start, particularly after the hawkish tone from the meeting itself,” said Chad Oviatt, director of investment management for Huntington Private Bank in Columbus, Ohio.
Graphic: nasdaq, spx outperform, dow lags –
At 11:56 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 44.05 points, or 0.13%, at 34,621.42, the S&P 500 was up 9.60 points, or 0.22%, at 4,353.14, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 21.38 points, or 0.15%, at 14,685.02.
China’s market regulator said it has fined a number of internet companies including Didi Global, Tencent and Alibaba for failing to report earlier merger and acquisition deals for approval.
U.S.-listed shares of Didi fell 7%, adding to a nearly 20% slump on Tuesday.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.25-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.91-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 64 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 69 new highs and 96 new lows.
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