October 3, 2018 / 5:28 PM / 16 days ago

US STOCKS-Wall St climbs as financials gain; S&P nears record high

* Dow hits record high, closing in on 27,000 point mark

* Private payrolls rise more than expected in Sept

* Banks gains as ADP report boosts Treasury yields

* Technology stocks rise as Intel continues rally

* Indexes up: Dow 0.59 pct, S&P 0.44 pct, Nasdaq 0.62 pct (Updates to early afternoon)

By Medha Singh

Oct 3 (Reuters) - The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a record high on Wednesday, driven by gains in financial and technology stocks and a robust monthly private payrolls report.

The S&P 500 hovered near record levels, with seven of the 11 major sectors higher, also benefiting from signs that Italy would cut its budget deficit and lower its debt in the coming years, easing a concern that had pressured global stock markets.

Financials, which have lagged this year, rose 1.3 percent, on pace for their strongest one-day surge in the past 10 sessions. It was followed by a 0.7 percent gain in technology stocks.

U.S. private payrolls recorded their biggest increase in seven months in September, the ADP National Employment Report showed, pointing to sustained labor market strength and a solid print for Friday’s more comprehensive non-farm payrolls data.

“The market is reacting favorably to the payrolls news and a lot of eyes are on the jobs report on Friday. People are looking forward to the wages with Amazon raising its minimum wage,” said Ryan Nauman, market strategist at Informa Financial Intelligence in Zephyr Cove, Nevada.

Nauman said Amazon.com raising its minimum wage to $15 could pressure other retailers to follow, which would make the wage growth number in Friday’s jobs report of particular interest.

The strong ADP data pushed the yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury note higher, helping the S&P bank index rise 1.7 percent.

Also underscoring the economy’s vibrancy was a report from the Institute for Supply Management showing its non-manufacturing activity index rose more than expected in September.

At 13:04 p.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 158.12 points, or 0.59 percent, at 26,932.06, the S&P 500 was up 12.98 points, or 0.44 percent, at 2,936.41 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 49.23 points, or 0.62 percent, at 8,048.77.

The Dow is closing on the 27,000 mark and the S&P is mere points away from its all-time high.

Among technology stocks, Intel gained 2.4 percent, rising for the second day, with gains being attributed to a research firm’s prediction that the chipmaker could beat Wall Street’s targets for the fourth quarter.

Utilities and real estate sectors were leading the decliners, as higher bond yields made shares of high-dividend paying companies less attractive.

The energy index rose 0.7 percent, boosted by a rise in oil prices.

General Motors rose 3.2 percent after Honda Motor said it would invest $2 billion over 12 years in the U.S. carmaker’s Cruise self-driving unit.

Michael Kors rose 2.5 percent after Citi upgraded the stock on expectations its recent purchase of Italian fashion house Versace would boost performance.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.46-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.96-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 28 new 52-week highs and nine new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 32 new highs and 55 new lows. (Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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