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Stock market closes in on fresh records as gains for technology, materials sectors offset dip in energy

Mark DeCambre

U.S. stocks finished Wednesday trade with the three main benchmarks within striking distance of all-time highs, with gains in technology and materials stocks helping to buttress the market. Optimism about U.S.-China trade relations were the purported catalyst for the day's action after an official from the Commerce Department said the U.S. was 90% of the way from completing a tariff pact with China. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained about 40 points, or 0.2%, at 26,217 (on a preliminary basis). The blue-chip index, however, finished off its best level of the session at 26,282.17, as sharers of Boeing Co. weighed. The aeronautics and defense contractor has been confronting problems with its 737 Max fleet of jets after a pair of fatal crashes. Shares of Boeing closed off 1.5% on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index added 0.2% to close at 2,873, supported by gains in information technology, up 0.8%, and consumer discretionary, up 0.7%. The S&P 500's energy sector led losses, down 1%, as crude-oil futures snapped a three session string of gains. The Nasdaq Composite Index closed 0.6% higher at 7,895. All three benchmarks were about 2% short of records.