August 29, 2018 / 7:03 PM / 8 months ago

US STOCKS-Tech leads Wall St rally, S&P and Nasdaq hit new highs

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* Apple hits all-time high, leading tech rally

* Alphabet, Amazon jump as Morgan Stanley ups price targets

* Canada, U.S. resume trade talks

* Specialty retail stocks hit by underwhelming earnings

* Indexes up: Dow 0.21 pct, S&P 0.49 pct, Nasdaq 0.84 pct (Updates to mid-afternoon, changes dateline to NEW YORK, changes byline)

By Stephen Culp

Aug 29 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq hit record highs for the fourth straight session on Wednesday in a rally led by technology companies as investor sentiment was stoked by optimism over ongoing trade negotiations.

Apple Inc led the technology sector’s advance as the iPhone maker’s shares hit an all-time high. The sector pushed all three major U.S. indexes higher.

The FAANG group of momentum stocks also got a boost from Morgan Stanley’s price target increases for and Alphabet Inc. The remaining FAANG stocks, Facebook Inc and Netflix Inc were down slightly.

Canada appeared to be taking a more conciliatory approach toward its ongoing talks with the United States to salvage the trilateral North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), days after Washington struck a deal with Mexico.

“The market continues to be very happy with the speed with which some of these trade deals are coming together,” said Stephen Massocca, Senior Vice President at Wedbush Securities in San Francisco. “As the Trump administration is able to make more immediate progress, the market will look upon that very favorably.”

The Commerce Department released its second reading of second-quarter GDP, showing the U.S. economy grew at an upwardly-revised annual rate of 4.2 percent in the quarter, its best performance in nearly four years.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 55.35 points, or 0.21 percent, to 26,119.37, the S&P 500 gained 14.31 points, or 0.49 percent, to 2,911.83 and the Nasdaq Composite added 67.54 points, or 0.84 percent, to 8,097.58.

Of the 11 major sectors of the S&P 500, seven were in positive territory, with the largest percentage gains seen in the consumer discretionary and technology sectors.

Consumer discretionary stocks were led higher by’s 3.0 percent increase.

Restaurant operator Yum China Holdings Inc extended its rally, and was up 5.2 percent after rejecting a $17.6 billion buy-out bid from a Chinese consortium.

Among losers, Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc fell 1.6 percent following an underwhelming earnings report, a drop in same-store sales driven by tighter gun controls and a decline in Under Armour sales. Sportswear company Under Armour Inc stock slid by 1.1 percent.

Shares of American Eagle Outfitters Inc dropped 7.0 percent after posting disappointing second quarter results and providing lackluster guidance.

Other specialty apparel retailers were also down.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.68-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.55-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 58 new 52-week highs and 1 new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 101 new highs and 20 new lows.

Reporting by Stephen Culp Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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