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US STOCKS SNAPSHOT-Dow hits record close; Fed signals gradual approach to rate hikes

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NEW YORK, July 12 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday, pushing the Dow to a record high close, after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said interest rates hikes would be gradual and rates will not have to rise much further to reach a neutral level.

Based on the latest available data, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 123.72 points, or 0.58 percent, to 21,532.79, the S&P 500 gained 17.88 points, or 0.74 percent, to 2,443.41 and the Nasdaq Composite added 67.87 points, or 1.1 percent, to 6,261.17. (Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Nick Zieminski)