March 4, 2019 / 2:59 PM / 6 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall Street rises on optimism over U.S.-China trade progress

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* WSJ reports Trump-Xi trade summit likely this month

* Trade sensitive Boeing, Caterpillar lift industrials

* Amazon boosts S&P, Nasdaq after brokerage hikes PT

* Apple helps technology stocks gain; chipmakers rise

* Indexes rise: Dow 0.37 pct, S&P 0.42 pct, Nasdaq 0.61 pct (Updates to open)

By Medha Singh

March 4 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks posted broad-based gains on Monday, buoyed by hopes that the United States and China would reach a trade deal as early as this month to end tit-for-tat tariffs on billions of dollars worth of each other’s goods.

The latest driving force for the optimism was a report over the weekend that said U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping could sign a formal trade pact at a summit around March 27, given progress in talks between the two countries.

Trade-sensitive industrials rose 0.58 percent, boosted by bellwethers Boeing Co and Caterpillar, which gained 0.76 percent and 1.23 percent, respectively.

Chipmakers, which get a huge chunk of their revenue from China, also rose, with the Philadelphia SE semiconductor index gaining 0.78 percent.

Apple Inc’s 1.2 percent rise lifted the technology sector by 0.58 percent. The iPhone maker’s holiday quarter was hurt in part by tariffs.

“The focus is squarely on trade at this point,” said Kim Forrest, senior portfolio manager at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“Investors are now looking at areas that would benefit, like technology, because there has probably been some sales in that area that has been put off.”

Optimism on trade along with the dovish stance of the Federal Reserve has spurred a strong run in stocks, with the benchmark S&P 500 up about 12 percent this year and 4 percent away from its Sept.20 record closing high. Inc’s 1.5 percent rise boosted both the benchmark S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes, after brokerage Evercore ISI hiked price target on the ecommerce giant, saying its gross profit will grow much faster than its revenue over the next three years.

At 9:42 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 96.06 points, or 0.37 percent, at 26,122.38. The S&P 500 was up 11.91 points, or 0.42 percent, at 2,815.60 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 46.29 points, or 0.61 percent, at 7,641.64.

Last week, the Nasdaq posted its longest run of weekly gains since late 1999 and the S&P 500 breached 2,800 level several times before closing above that mark on Friday for the first time since Nov.8.

Among other movers, Kraft Heinz Co gained 2.07 percent after brokerage Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the stock.

Dialysis service provider DaVita Inc slipped 1.37 percent after the Trump administration sought to cut dialysis costs.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.89-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.65-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 37 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 57 new highs and 12 new lows. (Reporting by Medha Singh and Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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