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Stocks Finish Mostly Higher as S&P 500 Sets New Record

The S&P 500 and Dow rallied Wednesday while the Nasdaq faltered.

The Dow and broader U.S. stock market traded mostly higher on Wednesday, as the S&P 500 (SPY) returned to record levels amid signs that the Federal Reserve remains committed to stimulating the economy.

Wall Street’s major indices were mixed at the close, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) gaining 16.02 points, or 0.1%, to 33,446.26.

The broad S&P 500 Index (SPY) of large-cap stocks gained 0.2% to close at 4,079.95. Five of 11 primary sectors finished in positive territory, with communication services and information technology leading the gains.

Meanwhile, the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index (QQQ) edged down 0.1% to settle at 13,688.84.

A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX (VXX) edged slightly lower on Wednesday.  The so-called “investor fear index” reached an intraday low of 16.87 on a scale of 1-100, where 20 represents the historical average. It would eventually settle down 5.3% at 17.16.

In commodities, oil prices continued higher on Wednesday, with U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures gaining 31 cents, or 0.5%, to $59.64 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the international futures contract, climbed 36 cents or 0.6%, to $63.10 a barrel.

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In precious metals, gold prices edged lower on Wednesday, as the June futures contract fell $5.30, or 0.3%, to $1,737.70 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Silver futures dipped 3 cents, or 0.1%, to $25.20 a troy ounce.

The Final Word: The minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meetings showed expectations for a stronger economic recovery. However, officers reiterated their plans to continue supporting the economy through monetary policy.