August 29, 2018 / 3:52 PM / 20 days ago

US STOCKS-Amazon, Alphabet lift S&P and Nasdaq to new record highs

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* Tech stocks rise as Apple hits record high, Alphabet gains

* Alphabet, Amazon jump as Morgan Stanley lifts price targets

* Canada, U.S. resume NAFTA talks amid growing optimism

* Dick’s Sporting falls on weak sales, weighs on Under Armour

* Indexes up: Dow 0.27 pct; S&P up 0.51 pct, Nasdaq up 0.79 pct (Changes comments, updates prices)

By Shreyashi Sanyal

Aug 29 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq hit all-time highs for the fourth session in a row on Wednesday, boosted by a jump in Amazon.com and Alphabet, and on optimism over trade talks between the United States and Canada.

Morgan Stanley raised its price target on Amazon and Google-parent Alphabet, becoming the most bullish Wall Street brokerage on the so-called FANG members, causing the stocks to rise by 2.3 percent and 1.3 percent.

The technology sector rose 0.92 percent, the most among the 11 major S&P sectors, on gains in Alphabet. Apple hit a record high and was last up 1.0 percent.

The consumer discretionary index was up 0.70 percent, as Amazon’s gains more than offset a drop in retailers. Amazon’s stock hit a record high and moved closer to following Apple into the $1 trillion-market cap club.

Also helping sentiment was Commerce Department data that showed second-quarter U.S. economic growth was a bit stronger than initially thought, notching its best performance in nearly four years as businesses spent more on software and imports fell.

After striking a deal with Mexico on Monday, the United States is in trade talks with Canada to salvage the North American Free Trade Agreement amid signs Ottawa was open to taking a more conciliatory approach.

Also on the trade radar is an upcoming Sept. 5 deadline for public comment on a U.S. proposal to slap tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

“The theme of the day is the trade talk with Canada which is a big step, although the elephant in the room is still China. That’s what has the most weight on concerns with the market moving forward,” said Ryan Nauman, market strategist at Informa Financial Intelligence in Zephyr Cove, Nevada.

“There’s definitely room to run in the equity markets with more records being hit, especially with the momentum on trade.”

At 11:25 a.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 70.42 points, or 0.27 percent, at 26,134.44, the S&P 500 was up 14.65 points, or 0.51 percent, at 2,912.17 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 63.17 points, or 0.79 percent, at 8,093.21.

Dick’s Sporting Goods tumbled 5.5 percent as the sportswear retailer’s quarterly same-store sales fell more than expected.

The company blamed tighter controls on gun sales and weak sales of Under Armour products, which pushed shares of the sportswear maker down nearly 1 percent.

In a weak day for retailers, department store chains Macy’s , Kohl’s and Nordstrom fell more than 2 percent while Tiffany’s dropped 4.9 percent.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise was up 3.1 percent after the IT products and services provider topped revenue and profit estimates.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.66-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.61-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 43 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 87 new highs and 13 new lows. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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