May 20, 2016 / 3:48 PM / 2 years ago

US STOCKS-Tech, financial stocks prop up Wall St

* S&P, Dow on track to snap four-week losing streak

* InterOil jumps on $2.2 bln takeover offer

* Applied Materials soars; boosts semiconductor stocks

* Indexes higher: Dow 0.64 pct, S&P 0.74 pct, Nasdaq 1.25 pct (Adds details, comments, updates prices)

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

May 20 (Reuters) - Wall Street was higher on Friday as technology stocks were lifted by an upbeat forecast from chip industry bellwether Applied Materials, while financial stocks added to gains.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index was up 1.13 percent, also boosted by Microsoft and Apple.

Applied Materials shares rose 12.8 percent after the company forecast a higher-than-expected third-quarter profit on the back of strong demand for chips used in smartphones and solid-state drives. The stock was also the most traded on the Nasdaq.

The S&P financial sector index also rose 0.98 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.

The index has risen about 2 percent since the Fed released minutes of its April meeting on Wednesday.

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.

“The markets are re-dialing from the sell-off, and I would say it is doing so more on the absence of any incremental bad news from the Fed,” said James Abate, chief investment officer as Centre Asset Management in New York.

“I think on technology a lot of that was driven by the positive news that came out of Applied Materials, which is essentially being a spark for the rally,”

The S&P 500 and Dow are on track to snap their four-week losing streak, while the Nasdaq looked set to end five straight weeks of losses.

The benchmark S&P 500 index has fallen 4.4 percent since it hit a record high on May 21 last year.

At 10:48 a.m. ET (1448 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was up 111.02 points, or 0.64 percent, at 17,546.42, the S&P 500 was up 15.05 points, or 0.74 percent, at 2,055.09 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 58.70 points, or 1.25 percent, at 4,771.24.

The gains were broad based with nine of the 10 major S&P sectors trading higher.

Oil prices were marginally lower as investors cashed in recent gains and focus returned to global oversupply.

Data on Friday showed existing home sales in the United States rose more than expected in April, marking the second straight month of increase.

InterOil jumped 35 percent to $42.76 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 6.2 percent to $60.02 after the company reported lower-than-expected quarterly sales.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,207 to 643. On the Nasdaq, 2,046 issues rose and 499 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 12 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 22 new highs and 18 new lows (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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