May 30, 2019 / 3:53 PM / 19 days ago

US STOCKS-Wall St pauses after trade tension-driven selloff

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* Trump says U.S. doing well in trade talks with China

* Dollar General jumps after Q1 profit beat

* Keysight jumps after upbeat quarterly results

* Indexes up: Dow 0.02%, S&P 0.20%, Nasdaq 0.26% (Changes comment, updates prices)

By Amy Caren Daniel

May 30 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose for the first time this week on Thursday, as President Donald Trump said trade talks with China were going well, offering a glimmer of hope to markets roiled by worries that a protracted dispute would slow economic growth.

A senior Chinese diplomat said provoking trade disputes is “naked economic terrorism”, even as Trump said Beijing wanted to make a deal with Washington.

The escalating dispute has weighed heavily on Wall Street this month, putting its main indexes on track for losses of more than 5% in May. The benchmark S&P 500 is now 5.9% away from its all-time high of 2,954.13 hit on May 1.

“The positivity in markets is very muted today, there are fractional gains,” said Peter Kenny, founder of Kenny’s Commentary LLC in New York.

“Uncertainty is still the primary driver on the trade front. We have increasingly seen the fear of uncertainty being priced into the market, and that is all about trade and the prospect of a slowdown.”

Despite a tick up in U.S. treasury yields on Thursday, they still hovered near 20-month lows as investors sought safety in government bonds.

The yield curve between three-month bills and 10-year notes remained inverted, with money markets pricing in roughly two U.S. rate cuts by the start of next year.

Interest-rate sensitive bank stocks fell 0.54%, while the broader financial sector declined 0.24%.

Technology stocks, among the worst performing S&P sectors this month, rose 0.38% and boosted markets.

The sector was helped by a 9.6% jump in Keysight Technologies after the electronic measurement equipment maker reported better-than-expected quarterly results and announced a $500 million share buyback plan.

Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and Intel Corp also rose and offered support.

Also helping sentiment was data that confirmed domestic economic growth accelerated in the first quarter, but there were signs that the temporary boost from exports and inventory accumulation was already fading.

At 11:10 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 6.11 points, or 0.02%, at 25,132.52. The S&P 500 was up 5.54 points, or 0.20%, at 2,788.56 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 19.47 points, or 0.26%, at 7,566.78.

The energy sector fell 1.1%, the most among the four major S&P sectors trading lower.

Among other stocks, Dollar General Corp jumped 6.8% after the discount retailer’s same-store sales and profit topped expectations.

Viacom Inc climbed 4.8% after report that CBS Corp is preparing for merger talks with the media company. CBS rose 2.7%.

PVH Corp tumbled 14.3%, the most among S&P companies, after the Calvin Klein owner cut its annual profit forecast as it grapples with tariffs and slowing retail growth.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.45-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.28-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded one new 52-week high and 13 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 18 new highs and 69 new lows. (Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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