December 18, 2018 / 3:35 PM / 3 months ago

US STOCKS-Tech stocks, upbeat earnings boost Wall St; Fed in focus

* Oracle rises after strong profit forecast

* Banks gain ahead of widely expected rate hike

* Boeing up after hiking dividend, buyback plan

* J&J rises after 2-day slide on talc report fallout

* Indexes up: Dow 1.17 pct, S&P 0.88 pct, Nasdaq 0.89 pct (Updates prices to open)

By Amy Caren Daniel

Dec 18 (Reuters) - Wall Street rose on Tuesday, helped by technology stocks, upbeat earnings reports and a rebound in few bellwether stocks, while investors awaited clues on the Federal Reserve’s path for future rate hikes.

Though investors have baked in a fourth rate hike for the year on Wednesday, turbulence in markets and a host of other worries have fueled calls, including from President Donald Trump, for the Fed to pause its tightening cycle or risk harming the U.S. economy.

The S&P financial sector rose 1.36 percent with rate-sensitive banks gaining 1.79 percent.

The technology index gained 1 percent, giving the biggest boost to the market, driven by gains in Apple Inc . Amazon.com Inc was the biggest boost to the S&P and the Nasdaq and helped lift consumer discretionary stocks .

Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with the gains coming after the S&P logged losses of roughly 2 percent in each of the previous two sessions. There was also some caution, with traders pointing to the market failing to hold on to early gains on a few occasions this month.

“There is a lack of confidence in any upward move and we need something tangible to bring confidence into the market,” said Andre Bakhos, managing director at New Vines Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

“This has been a rather significant sell-off and before market stabilizes we need something tangible whether it’s a trade-deal or whether it’s something from the Fed.”

At 10:07 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 275.77 points, or 1.17 percent, at 23,868.75, the S&P 500 was up 22.50 points, or 0.88 percent, at 2,568.44 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 60.03 points, or 0.89 percent, at 6,813.77.

The gains come as the S&P tries to shrug off what has so far been its worst December performance since 1931. (tmsnrt.rs/2A3z5ML)

The energy sector fell 0.15 percent and was the only sector in the red after oil prices plunged more than 4 percent.

Oracle Corp rose 2.5 percent after the software maker forecast strong current-quarter profit on growth in its cloud business.

Truckmaker Navistar International Corp jumped 18.8 percent, while restaurant operator Darden Restaurants Inc rose 3.4 percent after the two companies issued upbeat quarterly earnings reports.

Boeing Co snapped a three-day losing streak with a 3.8 percent gain, making it the biggest boost to the Dow. The planemaker increased its dividend and share repurchase program.

Johnson & Johnson also rose 1.3 percent, following a near 13 percent drop in the past two days after Reuters reported the company knew for decades that its Baby Powder contained asbestos.

Data showed U.S. homebuilding rebounded in November on a surge in multi-family housing projects, but construction of single-family homes hit a 1-1/2-year low, pointing to a deepening housing market weakness.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 3.07-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 2.61-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded no new 52-week highs and 11 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded five new highs and 147 new lows. (Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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