February 25, 2019 / 3:33 PM / 3 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St rises as trade optimism boosts tech, industrials

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* Trump pushes out U.S. tariff hike on Chinese goods

* Tariff-exposed industrial, technology shares rise

* GE soars on sale of biopharma business for $21 bln

* Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors in black

* Indexes up: Dow 0.64 pct, S&P 0.52 pct, Nasdaq 0.77 pct (Updates to open)

By Shreyashi Sanyal

Feb 25 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks climbed on Monday, boosted by technology and industrial shares, after President Donald Trump said he would delay a planned hike in tariffs on Chinese imports.

Trump said on Sunday the trade talks were "productive" and that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping would meet to seal a deal if progress continued.

The announcement is the clearest sign yet that the two countries are closing in on a deal to end their prolonged trade spat that has slowed global growth and disrupted markets.

Trump also said he was optimistic that a final trade deal could be reached with China and that he would hold a summit to sign any pact, but cautioned an agreement may still not happen.

"It's all about the extension of the trade deadline, it buys us some time and that is a positive," said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.

"There is enormous pressure on the administration to get this out of the way. It might take a few more weeks but I expect some sort of a trade deal to get done."

The S&P technology index rose 0.92 percent, with Apple Inc's 1.4 percent rise leading the rally.

Gains in chip companies, which have a big exposure to the Chinese market, helped the Philadelphia semiconductor index jump 1.76 percent.

The industrial sector climbed 1 percent, helped by a rise in shares of tariff-exposed companies Caterpillar Inc and Boeing Co.

But the sector got the biggest boost from General Electric Co, which rose 10.7 percent jump after announcing a sale of its biopharma business to Danaher Corp for $21.4 billion.

Optimism on the trade front and dovish signals from the Federal Reserve have bolstered U.S. stocks in recent weeks, with the S&P 500 index about 4.4 percent away from its record closing high hit in late September.

The benchmark index is now trading at its highest level since November 8.

At 9:59 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 165.68 points, or 0.64 percent, at 26,197.49, the S&P 500 was up 14.53 points, or 0.52 percent, at 2,807.20 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 57.91 points, or 0.77 percent, at 7,585.46.

The financial sector rose 1.17 percent, helped by a 1.39 percent rise in bank stocks.

Investors will be keeping a close watch on Fed Chair Jerome Powell who is set to testify on monetary policy on Tuesday and Wednesday, almost two months after the central bank said it would be "patient" with further rate hikes.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.49-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 2.55-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 53 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 91 new highs and no new lows. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)

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