S&P 500 ends up; Time Warner shares jump after hours

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and Nasdaq ended higher on Tuesday, boosted by gains in the technology and utilities sectors, and shares of media and telecom companies jumped in extended trade after AT&T won court approval to buy Time Warner.

Time Warner shares rose 4.4 percent in after-hours trading, while AT&T shares fell 2.8 percent. The planned deal, which was approved without conditions, could open the door to other potential industry deals.

Twenty-First Century Fox Inc jumped 7.2 percent in extended trade after the ruling on expectations that Comcast Corp and Walt Disney Co could start a bidding war to acquire its media assets. Comcast shares shed 3.4 percent and Walt Disney dropped 1.9 percent.

Shares of other media and telecom companies rose in after-hours trading. Sprint gained 2.8 percent; CBS rose 4.6 percent; Discovery rose 4.1 percent; and Viacom gained 4.3 percent.

S&P 500 e-mini futures were up 0.2 percent in trading for the overnight session, while Nasdaq e-minis were up 0.3 percent.

During the regular session, the S&P 500 utilities index rose 1.3 percent and technology climbed 0.6 percent, helping to push the S&P 500 up slightly.

Gains were limited during the regular session by investor caution ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy decision. The Fed is widely expected to raise interest rates for the second time this year when it concludes its two-day policy meeting on Wednesday.

Investors are focused on how the Fed characterizes its monetary policy, looking for hints on whether it would move to raise rates three or four times this year.

“People are unsure what the Fed is going to say,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist and senior portfolio manager at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 29, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

“I don’t think they’re going to say anything particularly related to a rate hike in December,” he said. “If they say a little too much about inflation, that’s going to give the market a reason to get concerned.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.58 points, or 0.01 percent, to 25,320.73, the S&P 500 gained 4.85 points, or 0.17 percent, to 2,786.85 and the Nasdaq Composite added 43.87 points, or 0.57 percent, to 7,703.79.

Data on Tuesday showed U.S. consumer prices rose marginally in May as gasoline price increases slowed and the underlying trend continued to suggest moderate inflation in the economy.

Investors showed little reaction to the historic U.S.-North Korea summit. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, but their joint statement gave few details on how the goal would be achieved.

While defense stocks such as Raytheon Co, Lockheed Martin Corp and Northrop Grumman Corp dipped, the broader market saw little impact from the summit.

Tesla Inc shares were up 3.2 percent after the company said it is cutting several thousand jobs in an effort to become profitable.

Twitter gained 5 percent, to $43.49, after J.P. Morgan raised its price target on the stock by $11 to $50, saying it was confident about the company’s advertising revenue growth.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.02-to-1 ratio

The S&P 500 posted 4,241 new 52-week highs and 22 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 154,139 new highs and 2,622 new lows.

About 6.4 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges. That compares with the 6.6 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Additional reporting by Noel Randewich in San Francisco, Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Chris Reese and Leslie Adler