June 7, 2018 / 5:14 PM / 9 months ago

US STOCKS-Tech rally loses steam, McDonald's pushes Dow higher

* McDonald’s at 4-month high after layoffs report

* J.M. Smucker falls as FY profit forecast disappoints

* Energy stocks gain on oil jump

* Dow up 0.37 pct, S&P off 0.18 pct, Nasdaq down 0.89 pct (Updates to early afternoon)

By Sruthi Shankar

June 7 (Reuters) - A rally in technology stocks came to a halt on Thursday, setting up the Nasdaq for its first loss in five days, while a jump in McDonald’s shares and energy stocks boosted the Dow.

Shares of the world’s biggest fast-food chain rose as much as 3.9 percent to a four-month high of $168.74 after a report that the company was planning a new round of layoffs.

The S&P technology index fell 1.3 percent, led by heavyweights Microsoft and Facebook. The losses came on the back of a strong rally that pushed the index to record levels, even as the broader market grappled with trade and geopolitical uncertainties.

“It’s probably a slight give back considering a pretty robust return month-to-date already,” said Michael Dowdall, investment strategist at BMO Global Asset Management in Chicago.

There were a few bright spots in the tech sector, with some chipmakers and optical stocks gaining after U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Washington had reached a deal with China’s ZTE that would allow it to do business again with U.S. suppliers.

Qualcomm, whose products account for most of the chips used in ZTE smartphones, rose 0.9 percent. Qualcomm is also trying to get Chinese approval for its pending $44 billion acquisition of NXP Semiconductors NV.

NXP shares rose 6.2 percent.

“It’s a relatively quiet week. Everyone is getting geared up for the next when we have the Fed, ECB, BoJ making decisions, along with the Trump-Kim meeting,” said Dowdall.

“That’s what people are really looking forward to. At this point, it’s a quiet melt-up.”

Investors will look to a G7 summit starting in Canada on Friday for more signs on the trade tensions and tit-for-tat tariffs.

The two-day meeting will be the first chance for world leaders to confront Trump in person, since U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union were imposed last week. While Canada and Mexico have retaliated against a range of U.S. exports, the EU has promised to do so as well.

At 12:49 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 93.67 points, or 0.37 percent, at 25,240.06, the S&P 500 was down 4.89 points, or 0.18 percent, at 2,767.46 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 68.41 points, or 0.89 percent, at 7,620.83.

Brent crude gained more than 2 percent on concerns of a plunge in exports from Venezuela and worries OPEC may not raise production at its meeting this month, helping the S&P energy index rise more than 1.8 percent.

J.M. Smucker’s shares fell 5.6 percent after the Folgers coffee maker reported quarterly results and full-year forecast that missed Wall Street estimates.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.12-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.32-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 51 new 52-week highs and seven new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 211 new highs and 27 new lows. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Patrick Graham and Shounak Dasgupta)

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