* Materials index gains as metals prices rise
* Coty tumbles after reporting a surprise loss
* More stocks hits highs than lows for first time in 10 days
* Indexes up: Dow 0.61 pct, S&P 0.66 pct, Nasdaq 1.01 pct
* Yellen’s speech at Jackson Hole on Friday awaited (Adds details, changes comment, updates prices)
By Sruthi Shankar
Aug 22 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were higher in late morning trading on Tuesday, with the three major indexes poised for their best one-day percentage gains in more than a week, led by a bounce in technology and materials companies.
Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with the heavyweight tech index up 1.2 percent, rising for the first time in four days.
The materials index jumped more than 1 percent, poised for its best day in four weeks, boosted by rising commodity and metals prices.
London copper rose to a three-year high, zinc held close to its highest in a decade and nickel reached a 2017 high as mostly technical signals prompted speculators and funds to pour more cash into base metals.
The absence of major news from the White House and on the tensions between the United States and North Korea – two major factors that roiled the market in the past two weeks – also helped calm nerves.
“As the pockets of political worries that have caused short-term spikes and volatility ebb and flow, the market is rightfully focused on the solid fundamentals,” said Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist for Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company.
“We’ve had a decent economic backdrop against moderate inflation. As long as inflation remains moderate, I think the market continues to move higher”.
At 11:02 a.m. ET (1502 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 132.09 points, or 0.61 percent, at 21,835.84, the S&P 500 was up 16.08 points, or 0.66 percent, at 2,444.45.
The Nasdaq Composite was up 62.86 points, or 1.01 percent, at 6,275.99.
So far, 243 stocks have hit new 52-week highs, while 230 have hit fresh 52-week lows across U.S. exchanges. If the ratio holds, it will mark the first time in ten sessions that more stocks have hit highs than lows.
Investors also await the annual central bankers meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, starting Thursday. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s speech on Friday will be closely watched for a steer on U.S. monetary policy, but central bank observers do not expect her to give new guidance.
Among stocks, Freeport jumped 3.9 percent on news that Indonesia expects to strike an agreement this month to allow the miner to keep operating its copper mine in Papua.
Macy’s was up more than 4 percent after announcing a restructuring and job cuts.
Coty tumbled about 13 percent after the beauty products maker posted a surprise quarterly loss.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,981 to 759. On the Nasdaq, 1,921 issues rose and 776 fell. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)