August 24, 2018 / 1:49 PM / 4 months ago

US STOCKS-Energy, materials pull Wall St higher ahead of Powell speech

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* Powell’s Jackson Hole speech at 10 a.m. ET

* Bank stocks up slightly; financials also edge higher

* Autodesk top S&P gainer after strong results

* Gap shares fall as same-store sales miss estimates

* Indexes up: Dow 0.27 pct, S&P 0.30 pct, Nasdaq 0.52 pct (Updates to open)

By Shreyashi Sanyal

Aug 24 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Friday as a rise in oil and metals prices lifted energy and materials shares, while the dollar slipped ahead of a speech from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

Powell is set to speak at 10 a.m. ET (1400 GMT) at the Jackson Hole, Wyoming, conference of central bankers, where he is widely expected to signal more interest rate hikes.

The Fed is expected to raise rates in September and once more by the end of the year. But President Donald Trump earlier this week said he was “not thrilled” by rate increases and has asked the Fed to do more to help him boost the economy.

“I doubt that Powell is going to be taking a big policy stance with his discussion. I’m not expecting much from the speech today,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.

“The markets have actually been strengthening overnight due to the fact the dollar has come down quite a bit.”

The KBW bank index gained 0.18 percent ahead of Powell’s speech, while the S&P 500 financial index was up 0.21 percent. Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Bank of America were flat.

At 9:35 a.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 68.52 points, or 0.27 percent, at 25,725.50, the S&P 500 was up 8.57 points, or 0.30 percent, at 2,865.55 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 40.63 points, or 0.52 percent, at 7,919.09.

Nine of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher. The energy sector rose 0.97 percent and the materials sector 0.53 percent.

Shares of Autodesk jumped 13 percent, the most on the S&P, after the software maker topped revenue and profit estimates, helped by strength in its subscription business.

Gap Inc fell 9.5 percent, the most on the S&P, after the apparel retailer’s namesake brand reported a bigger-than-expected drop in same-store sales.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.74-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 2.51-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 9 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 53 new highs and 10 new lows. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal & Savio D’Souza in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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