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Market Pulse: Dow rises around 300 points early Tuesday, as Fed poised to kick off crucial meeting

U.S. stock benchmarks kicked off trade higher Tuesday as investors awaited the start of a crucial two-day meeting of the Federal Reserve that is sure to lead to the first interest-rate hike since 2018.

Markets got a bit of a lift early in the session after a smaller-than-expected rise in a measure of wholesale inflation, shaking off a weak reading on factory activity in the New York region.

Investors continued to monitor developments in the Russia-Ukraine war, with another round of cease-fire talks under way.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average

rose over 300 points, or 0.9%, to 33,242, the S&P 500 index

advanced 1% at 4,213, while the Nasdaq Composite Index

climbed around 1.1% to 12,720.

U.S. February producer-price index showed a monthly rise of 0.8%. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had looked for a 0.9% rise. The year-over-year rate was unchanged at 10%.

Separately, the New York Fed’s Empire State manufacturing index slumped 14.9 points to negative 11.8 in March. Economists had expected a reading of 5.5.

Despite early gains, the benchmarks are down substantially for the year and have seen volatile intraday action for much of the year, underpinned by uncertainty around the pace of inflation and the intensifying clashes in Eastern Europe.

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