* April CPI up less than expected, core CPI growth slows
* L Brands, Booking Holdings drop on disappointing forecasts
* S&P 500 tops 100-day avg, a day after claiming 50-day avg
* Indexes up: Dow 0.77 pct, S&P 500 0.82 pct, Nasdaq 0.77 pct (Updates to afternoon)
By Noel Randewich
May 10 (Reuters) - Wall Street jumped on Thursday, and Apple hit a record high, as tepid inflation data eased worries of faster interest rate hikes this year.
The U.S. Labor Department’s consumer price index increased 0.2 percent in April, less than economists’ expectations, as rising costs for gasoline and rental accommodation were tempered by a moderation in healthcare prices.
Core CPI, which excludes food and energy components, edged up 0.1 percent in April, slower than the previous two months, and did little to alter traders’ expectations of a June rate hike.
A higher inflation number could have increased fears of more aggressive interest rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
“The CPI came in at a level where it’s not so alarming as far as what the Fed is thinking,” said Mark Kepner, an equity trader at Themis Trading in Chatham, New Jersey. “There’s comfort that the Fed won’t have to move too quickly.”
The U.S. stock market rallied broadly, with all 11 major S&P sectors posting gains.
Fueled by a $100 billion buyback program unveiled last week, Apple rose 1.33 percent to a record high of $189.90, lifting the S&P 500 more than any other stock.
The S&P 500 reclaimed its 100-day moving average for the first time since April 19, suggesting to some traders that the market may move higher. That came a day after it topped its 50-day average, a key indicator of short-term momentum.
At 2:25 pm ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.77 percent at 24,732.05 points, while the S&P 500 had gained 0.82 percent to 2,720.06.
The Nasdaq Composite added 0.77 percent to 7,396.06.
CenturyLink gained 8 percent after its first-quarter report. That helped the telecoms sector rise 1.91 percent, more than any other sector.
AXA Equitable Holdings, the U.S. division of French insurer AXA, rose 1.45 percent in its market debut. Although its offering raised less than targeted, it was still the biggest U.S. IPO this year.
The top losers on the S&P 500 included Victoria’s Secret owner L Brands, which fell 7.65 percent, and Booking Holdings, formerly called Priceline, which dropped 5.5 percent. Both companies gave disappointing outlooks.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.76-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.90-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 35 new 52-week highs and 2 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 154 new highs and 27 new lows. (Additional reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Savio D’Souza in Bengaluru; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)