January 9, 2019 / 6:29 PM / 5 months ago

US STOCKS-Tech surge, trade hopes lift Wall Street for fourth day

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* Apple gains despite Nikkei report on production cut plans

* Trade-sensitive Boeing boosts Dow

* Fed officials say caution needed before more rate hikes

* Slump in Constellation Brands drags on consumer staples

* Indexes up: Dow 0.74 pct, S&P 0.74 pct, Nasdaq 1.11 pct (Updates to early afternoon)

By Sruthi Shankar

Jan 9 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday, aiming for a fourth day of gains, led by technology and other trade-sensitive sectors following signs of progress in trade talks between the United States and China.

Hopes of a deal between the world’s two largest economies that could avert an escalation of ongoing trade tensions, plus strong data on the U.S. job market and indications the Federal Reserve now appears to be in no rush to lift interest rates further, have helped the S&P 500 climb more than 10 percent from the 20-month low it hit around Christmas.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office said China pledged to purchase “a substantial amount” of agricultural, energy and manufactured goods and services from the United States, after talks ended in Beijing but gave no specific details.

“Not that we’ve got a concrete resolution, but the headlines seem to indicate the talks went well and perhaps the two sides are putting together a draft statement, which would be positive,” said Mona Mahajan, U.S. investment strategist, Allianz Global Investors in New York.

The S&P technology index rose 1.61 percent, boosted by Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and chipmakers.

Apple rose 2.1 percent, springing back from a slump last week after the company cut its holiday quarter sales estimate.

The gains came despite a Nikkei report on planned production cut for new iPhone models for the January-March quarter and a cut in earnings estimate by supplier Skyworks Solutions Inc .

Chip stocks gained 2.80 percent, a reversal from Tuesday’s drop triggered by Samsung’s profit warning, led by Micron Technology’s 6.5 percent after Bernstein upgraded the stock to “outperform”.

Shares of Boeing Co, which has a large exposure to China, were up 1.5 percent, with the S&P industrial index gaining 1.1 percent.

At 1:01 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 176.18 points, or 0.74 percent, at 23,963.63. The S&P 500 was up 19.11 points, or 0.74 percent, at 2,593.52 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 76.85 points, or 1.11 percent, at 6,973.84.

Financial stocks were up 0.81 percent ahead of the release of Fed’s minutes from its December meeting.

In remarks that further eased market concerns over the Fed’s rate hike path, some of the central bank officials, including three voting members on its rate-setting committee, said they would be cautious about any further increases.

“I do think that a more stable Fed is going to lead to more stable markets over time,” said Mark Heppenstall, chief investment officer at Penn Mutual Asset Management in Horsham, Pennsylvania.

“Some of the sharp moves in the market were driven by the fact that Fed tightening is starting to have an impact on economic growth and financial conditions.”

Corona brewer Constellation Brands Inc dropped 10.6 percent after the company cut its fiscal 2019 profit outlook, , dragging down the consumer staples index.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.34-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.94-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded no new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 22 new highs and 5 new lows. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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