Wall Street muted by health stocks; Italy, ECB boost Europe

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By Sinead Carew

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street’s rise was held back by health stocks on Wednesday while European stocks rose on reports Italy would step in to rescue troubled bank Monte dei Paschi and on expectations the European Central Bank would extend its bond-buying.

Major currencies treaded water with traders waiting on the ECB’s Thursday meeting to find out if the ECB’s monthly bond purchases will be kept steady or scaled back, and whether it will signal the eventual end of the program.

Prices on longer-dated U.S. Treasuries rose following a large block purchase of 10-year Treasury note futures after disappointing overseas data pushed foreign yields lower.

Healthcare stocks were the biggest drag on the S&P 500 <.SPX> after a report that President Elect Donald Trump said he would bring down pricing. This led the benchmark S&P to take a breather after three days of advances.

“When…

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