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* Nike shares rise on upbeat results
* Philip Morris jumps on calling off Altria merger
* Indexes up: Dow 0.6%, S&P 0.6%, Nasdaq 1.1% (Updates to close)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, Sept 25 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 notched its biggest daily gain in two weeks on Wednesday as investors shrugged off the news of an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, while Nike shares jumped on upbeat quarterly results.
Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday moved to launch a formal inquiry into whether to impeach Trump, and indexes weakened briefly early Wednesday after the White House released a summary of a telephone call between Trump and Ukraine’s president that is at the center of the inquiry.
Stocks rose as investors digested the news, recovering from losses on Tuesday as the impeachment push gained momentum.
“We’ll see what the Democrats do from here, whether they move forward or not. It just doesn’t appear that it’s going to be the distraction that yesterday the market thought it might become. So the market’s having a good day based on that,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York, New York.
Helping sentiment, data showed that sales of new U.S. single-family homes rebounded more than expected in August, a sign that the struggling housing market was starting to get a lift from lower borrowing rates.
Nike Inc shares jumped 4.2% after the company’s first-quarter results beat market expectations.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 162.94 points, or 0.61%, to 26,970.71, the S&P 500 gained 18.27 points, or 0.62%, to 2,984.87 and the Nasdaq Composite added 83.76 points, or 1.05%, to 8,077.38.
Among the day’s top sector performers were technology and communication services. The S&P 500 technology index was up 1.2%, while the Philadelphia chip index gained 1.8%.
“Good economic data is fighting with political noise and good data is winning,” said Michael Antonelli, market strategist at Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee.
Adding to the stronger tone, Trump said a trade deal with China could happen sooner than expected, comments that were in contrast to his harsh rhetoric the day before.
Also on the trade front, Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced initial details of an emerging trade deal between the two countries, with Trump saying it would open up Japanese markets to $7 billion worth of American products.
Shares in Philip Morris surged 5.2% after the tobacco company called off merger talks with Altria Group Inc and said it would instead focus on the U.S. launch of its tobacco-heating product, iQOS.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.50-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.42-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 11 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 29 new highs and 103 new lows.
Volume on U.S. exchanges was 6.67 billion shares, compared to the 7.2 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days. (Additional reporting by Sinead Carew, Sruthi Shankar and Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Sonya Hepinstall)