August 13, 2018 / 2:31 PM / 9 months ago

US STOCKS-Tech gains push Wall St higher, offsets Turkey currency worries

* Bank stocks fall on worries of exposure to Turkey

* Nielsen jumps after activist investor pushes for sale

* Indexes up: Dow 0.20 pct, S&P 0.19 pct, Nasdaq 0.27 pct

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2018 (Updates to open)

By Amy Caren Daniel

Aug 13 (Reuters) - U.S. stock indexes inched higher on Monday as shares of technology companies gained, offsetting a plunge in the Turkish lira that weighed on shares of big U.S. lenders.

The technology sector rose 0.45 percent and was the top gainer among the major S&P sectors.

Share of high-flying companies Apple, and Google-parent Alphabet were up between 0.7 percent and 1.5 percent.

The financials slipped 0.12 percent as U.S. bank stocks, like its European counterparts, bore the brunt of investor worries over exposure to Turkey’s crisis.

The lira has tumbled more than 40 percent against the dollar this year on worries over President Tayyip Erdogan’s increasing control over the economy and deteriorating relations with the United States.

All the three big U.S. banks - Citigroup, Bank of America and JP Morgan - were down about 0.3 percent and weighed on the S&P index.

“The global financial system is so interconnected that we tend to think of them as a group and financials come under pressure,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR in New York.

“If the Turkish lira gets worse and if this turns out to be a larger issue than it is currently, banks are in the front line to getting hurt.”

At 9:50 a.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 50.96 points, or 0.20 percent, at 25,364.10, the S&P 500 was up 5.29 points, or 0.19 percent, at 2,838.57 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 21.36 points, or 0.27 percent, at 7,860.47.

Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors were trading higher.

Netflix’s shares fell 0.9 percent and was the only one of the FAANG stocks trading lower, after the video streaming service provider said its Chief Financial Officer David Wells plans to step down.

Nielsen Holdings jumped 13.5 percent, the most on the S&P 500, after activist investor Elliott Management disclosed a stake and said would push for a sale of the TV-ratings company.

Mylan rose 4.3 percent and was among the top gainers on the S&P, after RBC upgraded the stock to “outperform”.

Dish Network’s shares fell 1.9 percent after MoffettNathanson downgraded the satellite TV services provider’s shares to “sell”.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.09-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.07-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded seven new 52-week highs and four new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 26 new highs and 46 new lows.

Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Arun Koyyur

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