Stock Indexes Open at Record Highs

Stock Indexes Open at Record Highs

NEW YORK (AP) -- Major U.S. stock indexes opened at record highs Tuesday morning, led by gains in technology companies like Apple. Phone companies and consumer-focused companies also rose. The Federal Reserve began its last policy meeting of the year, and it's widely expected to announce an increase in interest rates on Wednesday.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 105 points, or 0.5 percent, to 19,901 as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index picked up 15 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,271. The Nasdaq composite climbed 55 points, or 1 percent, to 5,468. The Russell 2000 index of small company stocks rose 0.6 percent but remained below the record it set on Friday.

TECH IS TOPS: Apple added $1.48, or 1.3 percent, to $114.78 and Google's parent Alphabet gained $10.90, or 1.3 percent, to $818.80. Juniper Networks climbed 41 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $28.42.

DRINK TO THAT: Japanese brewer Asahi Group said it will pay $7.8 billion to buy five beer brands in Eastern Europe from AB InBev, the maker of Budweiser. The brands include Pilsner Urquell. In October AB InBev bought rival SABMiller, and during those negotiations Asahi bought a group of Western European brands including Peroni and Grolsch. AB InBev picked up $1.15, or 1.1 percent, to $104.84.

FED WATCH: Investors expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates when it ends a policy meeting Wednesday. The central bank last raised interest rates a year ago. It's kept rates ultra-low since the 2008 financial crisis, but its leaders have suggested the U.S. economy is improving enough to start gradually raising rates. Low interest rates have helped drive stock prices higher but they also punish savers who look for income from bank accounts and bonds.

Banks traded higher. Higher interest rates let them make more money from lending. Goldman Sachs rose $1.97 to $239.14 while Willis Towers Watson gained $3.32, or 2.7 percent, to $124.53.

ENERGY: Oil prices were little changed. Benchmark U.S. crude slid 6 cents to $52.77 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, gave up 3 cents to $55.66 a barrel in London. On Monday oil reached its highest price in a year and a half after a group of oil-producing nations said they would cut production, backing up a recent deal by the nations in OPEC.

BONDS: U.S. government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.47 percent from 2.48 percent. On Monday bond yields rose to their highest level since June.

DOLLAR ASCENDANT: The dollar inched up to 115.15 yen from 115.12 yen. The euro edged up to $1.0631 from $1.0630.

OVERSEAS: Germany's DAX rose 0.7 percent the French CAC-40 was up 0.6 percent. In Britain, the FTSE 100 rose 0.6 percent. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 rose 0.5 percent. The Kospi in South Korea climbed 0.4 percent and the Hang Seng of Hong Kong added 0.1 percent.