US STOCKS-Tech, financial stocks prop up Wall St

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
US STOCKS-Tech, financial stocks prop up Wall St
Credit: © Reuters.

* S&P, Dow on track to snap four-week losing streak
* InterOil jumps on $2.2 bln takeover offer
* Applied Materials soars; boosts semiconductor stocks
* Indexes higher: Dow 0.64 pct, S&P 0.74 pct, Nasdaq 1.25
pct

(Adds details, comments, updates prices)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
May 20 (Reuters) - Wall Street was higher on Friday as
technology stocks were lifted by an upbeat forecast from chip
industry bellwether Applied Materials, while financial stocks
added to gains.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index .IXIC was up 1.13
percent, also boosted by Microsoft MSFT.O and Apple AAPL.O .
Applied Materials AMAT.O shares rose 12.8 percent after
the company forecast a higher-than-expected third-quarter profit
on the back of strong demand for chips used in smartphones and
solid-state drives. The stock was also the most traded on the
Nasdaq.
The S&P financial sector index .SPSY also rose 0.98
percent as a flurry of comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve
officials, suggested a possibility of an interest rate hike as
early as June.
The index has risen about 2 percent since the Fed released
minutes of its April meeting on Wednesday.
New York Fed President William Dudley said on Thursday the
U.S. economy was strong enough to warrant a rate hike in June or
July.
"The markets are re-dialing from the sell-off, and I would
say it is doing so more on the absence of any incremental bad
news from the Fed," said James Abate, chief investment officer
as Centre Asset Management in New York.
"I think on technology a lot of that was driven by the
positive news that came out of Applied Materials, which is
essentially being a spark for the rally,"
The S&P 500 and Dow are on track to snap their four-week
losing streak, while the Nasdaq looked set to end five straight
weeks of losses.
The benchmark S&P 500 index has fallen 4.4 percent since it
hit a record high on May 21 last year.
At 10:48 a.m. ET (1448 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average
.DJI was up 111.02 points, or 0.64 percent, at 17,546.42, the
S&P 500 .SPX was up 15.05 points, or 0.74 percent, at 2,055.09
and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 58.70 points, or 1.25
percent, at 4,771.24.
The gains were broad based with nine of the 10 major S&P
sectors trading higher.
Oil prices were marginally lower as investors cashed in
recent gains and focus returned to global oversupply. O/R
Data on Friday showed existing home sales in the United
States rose more than expected in April, marking the second
straight month of increase.
InterOil IOC.N jumped 35 percent to $42.76 after Oil
Search OSH.AX agreed to buy the company for $2.2 billion.

AthenaHealth ATHN.O fell 6.1 percent to $121.55 after the
company appointed a new chief financial officer.
Campbell Soup CPB.N fell 6.2 percent to $60.02 after the
company reported lower-than-expected quarterly sales.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,207
to 643. On the Nasdaq, 2,046 issues rose and 499 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed 12 new 52-week highs and one new
low, while the Nasdaq recorded 22 new highs and 18 new lows

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