U.S. stocks advance slightly as small – cap stocks (Russell 2000) help indexes gain. The Russell 2000 Index gained 0.8%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 33 points, or 0.2%, to 16816. The S&P 500 index tacked on five points, or 0.3%, to 1943, while the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 20 points, or 0.5%, to 4341.
Financials were the strongest of the 10 S&P 500 sectors, boosted by strength in Dow components Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Chase.
On Wednesday, the Fed is widely expected to announce another $10 billion reduction in its highly stimulative bond-buying program to $35 billion a month.
Crude-oil futures fell 0.5% to $106.36 a barrel. Gold futures lost 0.3% to $1,271.70 an ounce, after investors turn their attention away from the Middle East situation and focused on data pointing to higher inflation, which helped lift bank shares. Financials tend to benefit when inflation and interest rates start increasing off low levels, because the higher rates increase the profits banks can make on loans.
New residential construction and building permits, which are an indicator of future construction, fell more than expected in May. Housing starts fell 6.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of just more than 1 million units in May. Building permits fell 6.4% to an annual pace of 991,000 last month.
Tomorrow will be the start of a 2 Day Fed meeting on the Federal Reserve Stimulus program of bond purchasing, also known as Quantitative Easing.