July 5, 2018 / 7:09 PM / 10 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St pares gains after release of Fed minutes

* U.S. tariffs on China set to take effect on Friday

* Chipmakers lead tech stocks higher

* Indexes up: Dow 0.5 pct, S&P 0.6 pct, Nasdaq 0.9 pct (Updates to late afternoon, changes byline, adds NEW YORK dateline)

By April Joyner

NEW YORK, July 5 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks slightly pared gains on Thursday after the release of minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee’s June meeting, though they remained in positive territory.

The minutes reflected confidence among the Federal Reserve’s policymakers in the strength of the U.S. economy and its plans for future interest-rate hikes. In the June meeting, the Fed increased rates for the second time this year, and it has signaled that additional increases are likely.

“The market’s expectation always was that when we get back to neutral the Fed would stop raising rates,” said Michael O’Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading in Greenwich, Connecticut. “That’s the type of statement that will spook investors, knowing the Fed may tighten beyond the neutral level.”

Earlier, U.S. stocks rose as reports suggested that the United States could walk back threatened tariffs on European cars if the European Union scrapped duties on U.S. cars in return.

Technology stocks led gains on the S&P 500, with shares of several chipmakers rising. The Philadelphia semiconductor index rose 2.3 percent.

Still, the Trump administration’s tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports are due to go into effect at 0401 GMT on Friday. Beijing said it would respond immediately and in equal measure on U.S. goods ranging from cars to soybeans.

There was no evidence of any last-minute negotiations between U.S. and Chinese officials, business sources in Washington and Beijing said.

Investors, however, were relatively unfazed, suggesting that Friday’s impending tariffs had already been priced into stocks.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty, but the markets have reacted fairly calmly and rationally,” said Oliver Pursche, chief market strategist at Bruderman Asset Management in New York. “There’s been a lot of rhetoric but not a lot of actual action in terms of a trade war.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 129.93 points, or 0.54 percent, to 24,304.75, the S&P 500 gained 17.54 points, or 0.65 percent, to 2,730.76 and the Nasdaq Composite added 66.80 points, or 0.89 percent, to 7,569.48.

Shares of chipmaker Qorvo Inc rose 5.6 percent after KeyBanc, citing strong demand for smartphones in China and stabilizing iPhone sales, upgraded the company’s stock to “overweight.” Chipmaker Micron Technology Inc’s shares rose 2.2 percent after the company forecast only a small hit from a temporary ban on some sales in China.

Earlier on Thursday, the ADP National Employment Report showed private employers added 177,000 jobs in June, below Reuters’ consensus of an increase of 190,000. That comes ahead of the more comprehensive non-farm payroll report on Friday.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.25-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.14-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted five new 52-week highs and three new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 78 new highs and 30 new lows.

Reporting by April Joyner Additional reporting by Sinéad Carew in New York and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Nick Zieminski

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