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US markets closed higher; Dow logs fifth gain in a row

The US markets closed higher on Wednesday, with the Dow booking its fifth gain in a row and the broader stock market rallied as sharp gains in energy, financials and technology stocks propelled the main benchmarks firmly higher. Energy-related stocks scored a lift after President Donald Trump's decision a day earlier to pull the US out of the Iran nuclear deal and resume sanctions against the oil-producing nation prompted investors to bet on higher prices ahead for the commodity.

Separately, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic said that uncertainty over President Donald Trump's trade policies is the most obvious risk facing the US economy and may be prompting businesses to hold back on investment. Bostic said conversations with business officials in his southern district have raised the possibility that delayed investment because of trade risks may undercut the hoped-for effect of the recent corporate tax cuts. Stronger economic growth anticipated from those tax reductions was premised in part on higher business investment.

On the economy front, wholesale prices rose a scant 0.1% in April to mark the smallest gain since the end of 2017, perhaps a sign inflationary pressures are leveling off after a prolonged upsurge. The 12-month rate of wholesale inflation slipped to 2.6% from 3%. The March reading was the highest the government has recorded since it reformulated the PPI in 2013. The so-called core rate of wholesale inflation also increased 0.1%. The core rate is a closely watched category that excludes food, energy and retail-trade margins. The yearly rate of core inflation slipped to 2.5% from 2.9%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 182.33 points or 0.75 percent to 24,542.54, the Nasdaq gained 73.003 points or 1.00 percent to 7,339.90, and the S&P 500 was up by 25.87 points or 0.97 percent to 2,697.79.

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