S&P 500, Dow end at records

Wall Street closed little changed on Wednesday as the market took a breather following a three-day rally to record highs on the S&P 500, with investors expecting upbeat earnings to support further gains.

London's FTSE 100 fell 0.2% after the Bank of England (BoE) voted to keep interest rates unchanged at 0.5%, where they have been since 2009.

The S&P 500 index showed 57 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 74 new highs and five new lows.

The S&P 500 edged up 0.29 points to 2,152.43.

The S&P 500 gained 11.32 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,163.75. The Nasdaq Composite was up 34.28 points, or 0.68%, at 5,040.00.

Oil LCOc1 CLc1 rallied as short covering lifted prices, which were hammered on Wednesday by unusually weak USA demand for motor fuel.

The S&P 500 energy sector dropped 0.7 percent after leading the market on Tuesday, as a steep rally in crude futures prices reversed nearly fully.

USA stocks closed at fresh record highs on 14 July as large banking institutions posted stronger-than-expected records. The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit its third record in a row on Thursday on the back of stronger-than-expected US bank earnings and as investors bet on more central-bank stimulus. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which had been rising since hitting an all-time low last week, dropped to 1.47 percent from 1.51 percent.

The Dow Jones Industrial climbed 134.29 points, or 0.7%, to post its third straight record close at 18,506.41.

Excluding Apple, the S&P 500 information technology index would be up 4.74 percent in 2016 instead of its actual 3.01 percent gain.

In addition, the U.S.'s Energy Information Administration said in its own report Wednesday that the country's weekly gasoline stocks increased, but imports declined, adding to the overall supply worldwide and keeping global demand low. The euro rose to $1.1131 from $1.1110 and the dollar rose to 106.20 yen from 105.26 yen.

Helping fuel the move was a report that former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke had floated the idea of perpetual bonds with one of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's key advisers in April.

"Wholesale prices, which fell and rose with energy prices over the last two years, are beginning to stabilize along with energy costs", said Sophia Kearney-Lederman, an economic analyst at FTN Financial.

In South Korea, the Kospi index was up 0.6% in morning trade. The pound sterling rose against the greenback at $1.33, CNBC reported.

United States crude settled up 93 USA cents, or 2.08 per cent, at $US45.68 a barrel. Brent crude, a standard for worldwide oil prices, fell 18 cents to $47.19 a barrel.

Precious and industrial metals prices rose.

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