December 23, 2019 / 4:58 PM / a month ago

US STOCKS-S&P 500, Nasdaq scale new highs; Boeing lifts Dow

* Boeing’s shares rise on CEO exit

* Apache up after joint venture with rival Total

* Indexes up: Dow 0.42%, S&P 0.18%, Nasdaq 0.30% (Updates comment, price action)

By Manas Mishra

Dec 23 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq hit fresh record highs on Monday as President Donald Trump said an initial U.S.-China trade pact would be signed “very shortly”, while Boeing was a big boost to the Dow after the planemaker fired its chief executive officer.

Boeing Co jumped 3.2% and also lifted the S&P 500 industrials sector after ousting Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg, following a year of intense scrutiny and industrial setbacks set off by twin fatal crashes of its 737 MAX jetliner.

The benchmark S&P 500, which logged its biggest weekly percentage gain since early September last week, hit an all-time intraday high for the eighth straight session on Monday.

The so-called “phase one” deal, announced earlier this month, has helped fuel a rally on Wall Street, and the momentum continues on signs of improving U.S.-China trade relations. The benchmark S&P 500 is up about 29% in 2019, set for its best year since 2013.

Trump said over the weekend that the interim trade deal would be signed “very shortly”. Additionally, China said it would cut tariffs on products including frozen pork, avocado and some types of semiconductors next year.

“Boeing is a tailwind for the markets for the day. It will be pretty quiet this week and probably going into year end,” said Keith Gangl, portfolio manager of Gradient Investments in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“The markets have been pretty strong year to date, and I don’t expect that to change.”

With few economic indicators expected in a trading week shortened by the Christmas holiday, volumes are expected to be light.

Five of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher with technology stocks providing the biggest boost as shares of tariff-sensitive Apple Inc rose 1.5%.

At 11:27 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 118.59 points, or 0.42%, at 28,573.68, the S&P 500 was up 5.65 points, or 0.18%, at 3,226.87. The Nasdaq Composite was up 26.96 points, or 0.30%, at 8,951.92.

Apache Corp jumped 12%, the most among S&P 500 companies, after the oil and gas producer said it had formed a joint venture with France’s Total to develop a project off Suriname.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.18-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.00-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 33 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 92 new highs and 22 new lows. (Reporting by Manas Mishra and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty, Maju Samuel and Shounak Dasgupta)

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