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* Apple gains, boosts three major indexes
* China open to fresh trade talks with the United States
* Easing rise in U.S. consumer prices tames inflation fears
* Indexes up: Dow 0.5 pct, S&P 0.5 pct, Nasdaq 0.8 pct (Updates to late afternoon)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Apple led a rebound in technology shares and boosted all three major U.S. stock indexes on Thursday, while trade worries eased after China said it was open to fresh talks with the United States.
The technology sector climbed 1.1 percent on the day, boosted by Apple's 2.3 percent gain.
Trade worries softened after the Trump administration invited Beijing for a new round of talks, even as Washington prepared to slap tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.
The timing of the talks remains unclear and President Donald Trump said in a tweet there is no pressure to make a deal.
On the economic front, U.S. consumer prices rose less than expected in August and underlying inflation pressures also appeared to be slowing, a report from the U.S. Labor Department showed.
"Stocks already got a boost yesterday when investors got word the Trump administration had reached out to China on trade talks. Also the inflation numbers came out lower than people had expected. That's a positive because it gives the Fed cover to maybe move slower in raising interest rates which is good for equities," said Burns McKinney, portfolio manager at Allianz Global Investors in Dallas, Texas.
At 2:46PM ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 135.08 points, or 0.52 percent, to 26,134, the S&P 500 gained 15.14 points, or 0.52 percent, to 2,904.06 and the Nasdaq Composite added 61.06 points, or 0.77 percent, to 8,015.29.
The Dow touched its highest since Feb. 1 and is roughly 2 percent shy of its all-time high hit on Jan. 26. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq had already moved past their January peaks to record highs in prior weeks.
The trade-sensitive industrial sector rose 0.5 percent. Caterpillar was up 1.0 percent and Boeing rose 0.7 percent.
Apple, which has said tariffs could hit a "wide range" of its products, fell on Wednesday when it unveiled its largest-ever iPhone, but made only small, widely expected changes to its line-up.
The S&P consumer staples index dropped 0.5 percent as shares of Kroger weighed on the sector.
Kroger slid 10.2 percent after the supermarket chain's same-store sales missed estimates as customers were put off by changes in how it stocked merchandise.
Qualcomm rose 4.7 percent after the chipmaker said it would buy back about $16 billion of its stock.
Chipmakers bounced back from a slide on Wednesday, with the Philadelphia semiconductor index up 1.7 percent.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.56-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.18-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 58 new 52-week highs and 2 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 113 new highs and 51 new lows. (Additional reporting by Sinead Carew in New York and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Susan Thomas)