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story.lead_photo.caption In this photo provided by the New York Stock Exchange, Ashley Lara, right, works with other traders on the floor, Wednesday, March 31, 2021. U.S. stocks are rising in afternoon trading Wednesday, as investors wait to hear the details about Washington's next mammoth push for the economy. (Nicole Pereira/New York Stock Exchange via AP)

Wall Street closed out March with a mostly higher finish for U.S. stock indexes and the market’s fourth straight quarterly gain.

The S&P 500 rose 0.4 percent Wednesday, bringing its gain for the first three months of the year to 5.8 percent, despite a loss for January. The gain for the benchmark index, which tracks large U.S. companies, was eclipsed by the 12.4 percent jump in a popular index that tracks small- company stocks.

Technology stocks powered much of S&P 500’s latest gains, even though more stocks in the index fell than rose. Solid gains by Apple, Microsoft and Nvidia, and companies that rely on consumer spending, outweighed a pullback in financial, energy and materials stocks.

After the stock market closed, President Joe Biden started a speech in which he’ll discuss his plan to spend $2 trillion on strengthening the nation’s infrastructure, and how to pay for it.

The S&P 500 rose 14.34 points to 3,972.89. It was the index’s first gain since it set a record high at the end of last week. A late- afternoon fade pulled the Dow Jones Industrial Average 85.41 points lower, or a drop of 0.3 percent, to 32,981.55. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite climbed 201.48 points, or 1.5 percent, to 13,246.87.

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