Wall St hits new record highs as financials, industrials gain


USA stocks pulled back from their all-time highs on Thursday as investors assessed the Federal Reserve's policy statement, which hinted at raising interest rates for the third time this year and laid out plans to roll back its monetary stimulus.

At 9:39 a.m. ET (1339 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 33.52 points, or 0.15 percent, at 22,301.86, the S&P 500 was up 4.44 points, or 0.17 percent, at 2,504.67 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 18.27 points, or 0.28 percent, at 6,466.74. The S&P 500 .SPX gained 2.78 points, or 0.11 percent, to 2,506.65, hitting its fifth record closing high in the last six sessions.

The central bank is also expected to announce plans to begin unwinding its $4.2 trillion portfolio of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities, almost a decade after the global financial crisis.

Such a move would allow the Fed to effectively raise interest rates without touching its key short-term rate, known as the federal funds rate, said Phil Blancato, CEO of Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management.

The Nasdaq was within a few points of its own high, set earlier in the week, as information technology - the top performing sector of 2017- once again posted gains on a rally in semiconductor stocks. Utilities took a fall on concerns that the defensive sector would look less attractive as rates climb. U.S. Bancorp shares rose 78 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $53.16.

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BlackBerry Ltd stock also leaped, adding 8.6 per cent to finish at C$12.15 after the company and auto supplier Delphi Automotive Plc announced they were partnering on a software system for self-driving cars.

However, London's fell 0.24% as miners put pressure on the British index. Shares of Apple fell 1.7% after it admitted its latest smartwatch has connectivity problems.

General Mills was down about 5 percent after its quarterly profit missed estimates, hurt by lower sales of its yogurts and cereals in North America. On the Nasdaq, 1,378 issues fell and 915 advanced.

US stocks ended higher on Wednesday, as the Federal Reserve announced start of balance sheet reduction from October. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index inched up by 0.1%, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index dipped by 0.1%. While the UK's FTSE 100 Index edged down by 0.1%, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 both crept up by 0.1%.

Oil prices were slightly lower but held most of their recent gains before a meeting of oil producers that could extend production limits aimed at clearing a glut that has depressed the market for more than three years.