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US STOCKS-Nasdaq closes at record high, lifted by Apple

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* Morgan Stanley jumps on surprise dividend hike (Updates with end of session)

June 29 (Reuters) - The Nasdaq closed at a record high on Tuesday, lifted by Apple Inc and other technology stocks after an upbeat consumer confidence report.

The S&P 500 hovered near unchanged for the latter part of the day, helped by Morgan Stanley.

“I think the market is in a digestion period,” said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager at Globalt. “We’re waiting for that next piece of information that’s going to give us an idea of how sustainable the recovery is going.”

Market participants are closely watching the nonfarm payroll report due on Friday, which could sway the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy stance which hinges on an equitable recovery of the labor market.

An upbeat consumer confidence report on Tuesday set a positive tone for jobs data. U.S. consumer confidence increased in June to its highest level since the COVID-19 pandemic started more than a year ago, bolstering expectations for strong economic growth in the second quarter.

“If there’s a strong nonfarm payrolls number this month and we start making progress on the unemployment rate, that changes the whole Fed narrative,” said Mike Zigmont, head of trading and research at Harvest Volatility Management in New York.

Most of the 11 major S&P sector indexes fell. Technology and consumer discretionary stocks were among the top gainers.

Morgan Stanley jumped after it doubled its dividend to 70 cents per share in the third quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co , Bank of America Corp and Goldman Sachs Group also raised their payouts.

All three major Wall Street indexes are set for their fifth straight quarter of gains, boosted by ultra-loose monetary policy, a rebounding U.S. economy and robust corporate earnings.

With the S&P 500 climbing nearly 14% in the first half of the year, focus will shift to the second-quarter earnings season, beginning in July, which could decide the path for the next leg of the equity markets.

Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 20.24 points, or 0.06%, to 34,303.51, the S&P 500 gained 2.05 points, or 0.05%, to 4,292.66 and the Nasdaq Composite added 28.67 points, or 0.2%, to 14,529.17.

Moderna Inc jumped to a record high after the drugmaker’s COVID-19 vaccine showed promise against the Delta variant first identified in India in a lab study, with a modest decrease in response compared with the original strain.

Textron Inc rose after Morgan Stanley upgraded the business jet maker’s stock to “overweight” from “equal weight” on hopes of a stronger recovery.

Reporting by Krystal Hu in New York and Devik Jain and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Matthew Lewis

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