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US stocks posted slim gains on Wednesday ahead of key U.S. economic data due later in the week as investors weighed inflation concerns and a fresh surge in so-called “meme stocks.” The S&P 500 energy sector, the best-performing group this year, extended its rise, gaining 1.7% as oil prices pushed higher. The materials sector fell 0.9% while a 3.0% fall in Tesla Inc shares dragged on the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 25.07 points, or 0.07%, to 34,600.38, the S&P 500 gained 6.08 points, or 0.14%, at 4,208.12 and the Nasdaq Composite added 19.85 points, or 0.14%, to 13,756.33.
European stocks stayed near record levels, helped by energy and consumer stocks, while strong economic data from the United States and Europe buoyed investor sentiment in a mostly quiet day of trading. The pan-European STOXX 600 index traded 0.3% higher, holding just below its all-time high hit in the previous session. Oil and gas stocks rose 0.9% to lead sectoral gains in Europe as crude prices extended gains after OPEC and its allies stuck to their plan to cautiously bring back supply to the markets in June and July.
Maltese markets also ended higher, with the MSE Equity Total Return Index closing up 0.76 percent to 8,133.899 points. Simonds Farsons Cisk plc led the gains, with shares jumping 8.48 percent to €8.95 on a single trade of 45 shares, followed by Mapfre Middlesea plc which gained 3.7 percent to €2.26.
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