While buying interest was somewhat subdued, stocks moved modestly higher over the course of the trading session on Tuesday. With the upward move on the day, all three of the major averages ended the session at record closing highs.
The major averages ended the day in positive territory but off their best levels. The Dow rose 39.45 points or 0.2 percent to 22,370.80, the Nasdaq edged up 6.68 points or 0.1 percent to 6,461.32 and the S&P 500 inched up 2.78 points or 0.1 percent to 2,506.65.
The higher close by the major averages reflected a continuation of the upward momentum seen on Wall Street over the past several sessions.
However, traders seemed reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement on Wednesday.
While the Fed is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged, traders are likely to pay close attention to the accompanying statement for clues about the outlook for policy.
On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department released a report showing an unexpected decrease in new residential construction in the month of August.
The report said housing starts fell by 0.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.180 million in August from a revised 1.190 million in July. Economists had expected housing starts to jump by 1.7 percent.
A separate report released by the Labor Department showed increases in import and export prices in the month of August.
The Labor Department said import prices climbed by 0.6 percent in August after edging down by 0.1 percent in July. Economists had expected import prices to rise by 0.4 percent.
The report said export prices also rose by 0.6 percent in August following a 0.5 percent increase in the previous month. Export prices had been expected to edge up by 0.2 percent.
Telecom stocks showed a significant move to the upside on the day, driving the NYSE Arca Telecom Index up by 1.1 percent. With the gain, the index reached its best closing level in a month.
Sprint (S) and T-Mobile (TMUS) posted standout gains following a report from CNBC that the companies are in active talks about a merger.
Notable strength also emerged among banking stocks, as reflected by the 0.9 percent gain posted by the Dow Jones Banks Index. The advance lifted the index to its best closing level in over a month.
Chemical stocks also saw some strength on the day, while weakness was visible among biotechnology and healthcare stocks.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific…