June 26, 2019 / 6:39 PM / 4 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St gains on tech rally, trade hopes rekindled

(Updates to late afternoon; changes dateline, byline)

* Trade hopes gain traction ahead of G20 summit

* Micron jumps after upbeat forecasts; chip stocks rise

* Crude prices lift energy stocks

* General Mills falls on disappointing sales

* Indexes up: Dow 0.20%, S&P 500 0.10%, Nasdaq 0.46%

By Stephen Culp

NEW YORK, June 26 (Reuters) - Technology shares led the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq higher on Wednesday after remarks by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rekindled hopes for a de-escalation of U.S.-China trade tensions and brought buyers back from the sidelines.

All three major U.S. stock indexes were up, though off session highs.

Trade-sensitive industrial stocks, led by Boeing Co, provided the biggest lift to the Dow. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were set to snap three-day losing streaks, which were driven in part by increasing pessimism as to whether a planned meeting between President Donald Trump and China's president, Xi Jinping, at the upcoming Group of 20 summit in Japan would yield any progress in the two country's protracted tariff dispute.

But hopes for a way forward were raised when Mnuchin said in an interview on CNBC, "We were about 90% of the way there (with a deal), and I think there's a path to complete this."

Trump later said it was "absolutely possible" to avoid imposing additional tariffs on imported Chinese goods, but said he was "very happy where we are now."

"The markets are easily led by trade news," said Joseph Sroka, chief investment officer at NovaPoint in Atlanta. "The market anticipates that something positive will come out of the G20 meeting this weekend."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 53.11 points, or 0.2%, to 26,601.33, the S&P 500 gained 2.89 points, or 0.10%, to 2,920.27, and the Nasdaq Composite added 36.20 points, or 0.46%, to 7,920.92.

A rise in crude prices boosted energy stocks . Energy and tech companies were the biggest percentage gainers among the 11 major sectors of the S&P 500.

Chipmakers led the tech rally. The Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index rose 3.4% after Micron Technology Inc posted upbeat results and forecast a recovery in chip demand. Micron's shares jumped 13.4%.

Apple Inc shares were up 2.1% after the iPhone maker confirmed that it bought self-driving startup Drive.ai and after Trump suggested in an interview that the European Union was out of line with its lawsuits against U.S. tech firms, saying that the United States was the one that should be taking action.

EU antitrust regulators on Wednesday hit Broadcom with demands that the chipmaker drop its exclusivity clauses with TV and modem makers as part of its ongoing investigation. Nevertheless, Broadcom's shares were up 2.0%

General Mills Inc was among the biggest percentage losers on the S&P 500, dropping 4.2% after the packaged food company missed quarterly sales estimates, hit by lower snacks demand in North America.

In economic news, new orders for non-defense capital goods rose more than economists expected in May, suggesting some stabilization in business spending, which had shown signs of weakness amid trade jitters and bloated inventories. But overall orders for durable goods dropped, driven by a 28.2% plunge in non-defense aircraft orders, partly due to Boeing's move to cut production of its troubled 737 MAX aircraft.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.26-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.11-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted seven new 52-week highs and four new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 18 new highs and 81 new lows. (Reporting by Stephen Culp Editing by Leslie Adler)

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