* Yahoo falls after reports of a Verizon bid
* Applied Materials soars on strong forecast
* Indexes higher: Dow 0.41 pct, S&P 0.49 pct, Nasdaq 0.76 pct (Updates to open)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
May 20 (Reuters) - Wall Street opened higher on Friday, boosted by technology and financial stocks.
Semiconductor stocks were trading higher after Applied Materials, seen as an industry bellwether, forecast a higher-than-expected third-quarter profit on the back of strong demand for chips. The company’s stock rose 12.8 percent.
The S&P financial sector index rose 1.02 percent as a flurry of comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve officials, suggested a possibility of an interest rate hike as early as June.
New York Fed President William Dudley said on Thursday the U.S. economy was strong enough to warrant a rate hike in June or July.
“We got rattled earlier this week by shifting Fed perception,” said Scott Brown, Chief Economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida. “Now we’re back to looking at two rates increases this year, maybe even three.”
The S&P 500 has fallen 4.4 percent since it hit a record high on May 21 last year.
The benchmark index has given up all its gains for the year due to underwhelming corporate earnings, mixed economic data and uncertainty regarding the trajectory of rate hikes.
At 9:48 a.m. ET (1348 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was up 71.06 points, or 0.41 percent, at 17,506.46, the S&P 500 was up 10.03 points, or 0.49 percent, at 2,050.07 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 35.74 points, or 0.76 percent, at 4,748.28.
Nine of the 10 major S&P sectors were higher, with the information technology index’s 1.16 percent rise leading the advancers.
Oil prices were marginally lower as investors cashed in recent gains and focus shifted again to global oversupply.
Existing home sales in the United States rose better-than-expected in April, marking the second straight month of increase.
InterOil jumped 31 percent to $41.36 after Oil Search agreed to buy the company for $2.2 billion.
AthenaHealth fell 6.1 percent to $121.55 after the company appointed a new chief financial officer.
Campbell Soup fell 4 percent to $61.41 after the company reported lower-than-expected quarterly sales.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,037 to 659. On the Nasdaq, 1,718 issues rose and 561 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed seven new 52-week highs and one new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded eight new highs and 12 new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D‘Silva)