NEW YORK: The S&P 500 index has risen above 2,700 for the first time and other major indexes hit record highs as technology stocks climbed amid indications of robust economic growth in the US and overseas.

Stocks held gains following the release of minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting. Details of the meeting showed that policymakers were worried over the fate of currently low inflation and saw the recent tax changes as providing a boost to the economy.

A report showed US factory activity increased more than expected in December, in a further sign of strong economic momentum at the end of 2017. Meanwhile, manufacturing surveys pointed to a strong start for the European economy.

In late trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.29 per cent at 24,895.30, the S&P 500 had gained 0.55 per cent to 2,710.75 and the Nasdaq Composite had added 0.81 per cent, to 7,059.75.

LONDON: European shares on Wednesday recovered from a muted start to the year as a rising US dollar boosted exporters and new records on Wall Street lifted spirits on a day devoted to the implementation of the new European MiFID II market rules.

Euro zone blue chips gained 0.6 per cent and the pan-European STOXX 600 index closed up 0.5 per cent while trading volumes were slightly up from the previous session despite new financial regulations kicking in.

A greenback rally triggered by upbeat U.S. manufacturing and construction data ahead of the release of the Federal Reserve’s December policy meeting minutes helped blue chips in France and in Germany.

Frankfurt’s DAX jumped 0.83 per cent to 12,978.21.

Britain’s main stock index closed up 0.3 per cent, to 7,671.11, reversing an earlier swoon as oil majors jumped higher and the US dollar gained back ground against sterling, helping UK-listed dollar earners.

Oil majors Royal Dutch Shell and BP delivered the biggest boost to the index as crude prices hit new two-and-a-half year highs, rising 1.5 per cent and 1.3 per cent, respectively.

Retailers stole the rest of spotlight after high street stalwart Next delivered a strong Christmas update.

TOKYO: Asian stocks struck a range of new peaks on Wednesday as risk appetites were whetted by a feast of upbeat manufacturing surveys that confirmed a synchronised upturn in the world economy was well under way.

Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 0.36 per cent. It’s creeping ever closer to the all-time peak of 591.50 reached in late 2007.

Tokyo remained closed.

Hong Kong shares rose for the seventh straight session on Wednesday to a fresh decade-high, aided by strength in index heavyweight Tencent and consumer goods stocks.

The Hang Seng index rose 0.15 per cent to 30,560.95, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises index gained 0.17 per cent to 12,088.99.

China’s main Shanghai Composite index closed up 0.62 per cent at 3,369.11 points while its blue-chip CSI300 index ended up 0.59 per cent 4,111.39.

WELLINGTON: The S&P/NZX50 Index gained 0.3 per cent, to 8424.91, on its first day of trading in 2018.