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NEW YORK: Wall Street’s main indexes have all risen more than one per cent – with the Dow again above the 26,000 mark – as investors’ expectations for higher earnings lift stocks across sectors.

The S&P 500 has rallied strongly in the new year, gaining 4.8 per cent so far and posting only two sessions of losses. The Dow, after briefly hitting the 26,000 milestone on Tuesday, its fastest 1000-point rise, looks set to close above that mark for the first time.

More than three-quarters of the 36 S&P 500 companies that have reported so far have topped earnings estimates, according to Thomson Reuters.

In late afternoon trading (1517 EST/0717 AEDT),tThe Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.17 per cent to 26,095.48, the S&P 500 had gained 1.03 per cent to 2,805.12 and the Nasdaq Composite had added 1.14 per cent to 7,305.76.

LONDON: UK shares edged down on Wednesday as a flurry of corporate news triggered sharp moves, including for contractor Interserve after the Financial Times reported the British government was monitoring it following the collapse of competitor Carillion.

The blue chip FTSE 100 index ended the session 0.39 per cent lower at 7,725.43 points, underperforming the broader European market.

Within small market capitalisations, Interserve saw its shares tumble around 15 per cent at the open then gradually recouped most of its losses, closing 0.4 per cent lower.

European bourses opened lower, mirroring moves in Asia and Wall Street overnight, as earnings updates from companies weighed.

Luxury fashion brand Burberry and educational publishing company Pearson were among the top fallers after disappointing trading updates.

Their losses, along with weakness in the heavyweight financial and healthcare sectors, dragged the pan-European STOXX 600 while Germany’s DAX closed 0.47 per cent lower at 13,183.96..

TOKYO: Asian equities stepped back from a record high as the region’s resource shares were knocked by falling oil and commodity prices.

Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.07 per cent while Japan’s Nikkei 225 index closed down 0.35 per cent at 23,868.34.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose to a fresh closing peak on Wednesday, aided by continued strength in index heavyweight Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEx) which jumped more than 2 per cent to 2-1/2-year highs.

The Hang Seng index closed up 0.25 per cent at 31,983.41. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index rose 0.64 per cent to 12,868.78.

China’s main Shanghai Composite index closed up 0.24 per cent at 3,444.67 points while its blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.24 per cent to 4,248.12.

WELLINGTON: The S&P/NZX50 Index rose 0.6 per cent to 8,297.67.