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US STOCKS-Nasdaq hits record high as factory activity scales new peak

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* U.S. factory activity index rises to record high in June

* Microsoft crosses $2 trillion in market cap

* Retail darlings Alfi, Torchlight extend declines

* Indexes up: Dow 0.04%, S&P 0.17%, Nasdaq 0.38% (Updates to open)

June 23 (Reuters) - The Nasdaq hit an all-time high on Wednesday, helped by a boost from Tesla’s shares, with investors cheering data showing U.S. factory activity climbed to a record peak in June.

Data firm IHS Markit said its flash U.S. manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to a reading of 62.6 this month, beating estimates of 61.5, according to economists polled by Reuters. However, services sector PMI dropped to 64.8 from a reading of 70.4 in May.

Six of the 11 majors S&P sectors rose in early trading, with energy jumping more than 1.5% on the back of higher oil prices.

Tesla Inc jumped 4% as the electric vehicle maker opened a solar-powered charging station with on-site power storage in China and as bitcoin prices retraced some losses.

Wall Street’s main indexes jumped on Tuesday as investors cheered Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s reassurances that the central bank will not raise interest rates too quickly on inflation fears alone.

Powell’s comments follow the Fed’s projection of an increase in interest rates as soon as 2023, sooner than anticipated which sparked a sharp profit booking in the so called “reflation” stocks and triggered a move into tech-heavy growth names.

“Equities have come back up to all-time highs and that tells you the market is shrugging off the communication from the Fed,” said Johan Grahn, vice president and head of ETF Strategy at AllianzIM in Minneapolis.

“Powell has planted a seed of tapering ... the Fed is paving a way for more discussions around tapering itself and that, coupled with where they talk about rates next time, is going to build some volatility into markets.”

Technology, consumer discretionary and communication services sectors which houses some of the mega-cap tech names such as Apple Inc, Amazon.com , Nvidia and Microsoft Corp provided the biggest boost to the S&P 500.

At 10:14 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 14.26 points, or 0.04%, at 33,959.84, the S&P 500 was up 7.29 points, or 0.17%, at 4,253.73, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 54.71 points, or 0.38%, at 14,307.97.

Nikola Corp gained 5.6% after the electric and hydrogen vehicle maker said it is investing $50 million in Wabash Valley Resources LLC to produce clean hydrogen in the U.S. Mid-West for its zero-emission trucks.

Among so-called meme stocks, software firm Alfi Inc dropped 13% after more than doubling in value in the prior session, while Torchlight Energy Resources Inc slumped 16% for the second day after announcing an upsized stock offering.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and the Nasdaq.

The S&P 500 posted 23 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 95 new highs and 11 new lows. (Reporting by Devik Jain and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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