* Comey says no doubt Russia interfered in the election
* ECB leaves rates unchanged but closes door to further cuts
* Nordstrom rises on going-private option
* Indexes up: Dow 0.32 pct, S&P 0.16 pct, Nasdaq 0.23 pct
(Adds details, changes comment, updates prices)
By Tanya Agrawal
June 8 U.S. stocks were higher in early
afternoon trading on Thursday after former FBI Director James
Comey's testimony was seen by investors as having no smoking gun
that could affect Donald Trump's presidency.
Comey, who was investigating alleged Russian meddling in the
2016 U.S. presidential election, said he had no doubt that
Russia interfered with the election, but was confident that no
votes had been altered.
Comey said he was disturbed by Trump's bid to get him to
drop a probe into former national security adviser, Michael
Flynn, but would not say whether he thought the president sought
to obstruct justice.
Investors were concerned that any major revelation by Comey
could dampen already flagging momentum for Trump's agenda of
lower taxes and lax regulations.
Bets that Trump can implement his agenda are partly behind a
rally that has taken stock indexes to record highs.
"I think the market is taking less of an alarmist review of
this situation because there is no smoking gun here. So it's not
particularly impactful for thinking about ... Trump's economic
agenda to go through," said Thomas Simons, money market
economist at Jefferies & Co in New York.
Earlier on Thursday, the European Central Bank signaled no
further interest rate cuts as euro zone prospects improved, but
said subdued inflation meant it would continue to pump more
stimulus into the region's economy.
Investors are also awaiting the results of the UK general
election. Opinion polls show Theresa May's Conservative Party
leading between 5 and 12 percentage points over the main
opposition Labour Party, suggesting she would increase her
"The market cares because if Theresa May loses the majority
that would be disruptive of the Brexit process," said Art Hogan,
chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York.
"Getting back into something that seemed to be a fair and
orderly process into something that's going to be more
disruptive would not be a market positive."
At 12:36 p.m. ET (1636 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial
Average was up 68.55 points, or 0.32 percent, at
21,242.24 and the S&P 500 was up 4.06 points, or 0.16
percent, at 2,437.2.
The Nasdaq Composite was up 14.46 points, or 0.23
percent, at 6,311.84.
Six of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with the
defensive utilities index's 1.04 percent loss topping
Financials rose 1.59 percent leading the gainers.
Shares of Alibaba Group Holding were up 11.3
percent at $139.78 after the company said it expected revenue
growth of 45-49 percent in the 2018 fiscal year.
Yahoo, which owns a 15.5 percent stake in Alibaba,
rose 8.3 percent.
Nordstrom jumped 10.6 percent to $44.78 after the
department store operator said that some members of the
controlling Nordstrom family have formed a group to consider
taking the company private.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,624
to 1,188. On the Nasdaq, 1,832 issues rose and 926 fell.
(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Additional reporting
by Sinead Carew and Dion Rabouin; Editing by Anil D'Silva and