October 1, 2018 / 5:31 PM / 8 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St rises as industrials gain after NAFTA deal

* Automakers, auto parts makers rise after new NAFTA deal

* Seven of 11 S&P sectors gain

* GE surges on bet CEO change will re-energize portfolio

* Tesla shares jump on Model 3 numbers, Musk settlement

* Indexes up: Dow 0.76 pct, S&P 0.48 pct, Nasdaq 0.24 pct (Updates comments, prices; adds details)

By Medha Singh

Oct 1 (Reuters) - Wall Street started off the fourth quarter on a healthy note on Monday, led by automotive and railroad stocks, after a last-minute deal to salvage NAFTA as a trilateral pact.

Canada and Mexico accepted more restrictive commerce in the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which will make it harder for global automakers to build cars cheaply in Mexico and aims to bring more jobs to the United States.

Shares of Ford jumped 1.7 percent, while General Motors gained 1.3 percent. The gainers also included auto part makers, with Lear Corp up 2.8 percent. Among railroads, Kansas City Southern rose 2.5 percent.

Gains in the stocks led to a 1 percent rise in industrial sector, setting them on track for their best day in five weeks.

The biggest driver to the index was General Electric, which rose 9.7 percent and was set for its best day in three-and-a-half years after replacing Chief Executive John Flannery with board member Larry Culp, who, investors bet, could transform the company's portfolio more quickly.

Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with gains of more than 1 percent in the materials and energy indexes. Energy stocks got a boost as crude oil prices hovered near 2014 highs, also boosted by the NAFTA deal.

The heavyweight technology and health sectors were up between 0.94 percent and 0.75 percent.

"It's relatively broad-based rather than certain stocks... you've had this trade stuff hanging over the markets for a while, so any good news is positive," said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.

At 12:43 a.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 200.12 points, or 0.76 percent, at 26,658.43, the S&P 500 was up 14.06 points, or 0.48 percent, at 2,928.04 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 19.48 points, or 0.24 percent, at 8,065.83.

Twenty-seven of the 30 stocks on the blue-chip Dow were trading higher. The S&P was on track for its best one-day gain in past six days, although the index was trading near its session lows.

Market reaction to these developments are relatively short-lived, but the economics in the market is very strong and only concerns about the trade issues have been holding it back from moving higher, said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin.

The defensive real estate and utilities sectors led the decliners. The communications services index also fell 0.32 percent as media stocks lagged.

Tesla shares soared 15.3 percent as signs it had met targets for quarterly production numbers added to relief at Chief Executive Elon Musk's settling a lawsuit with regulators that could have forced him out.

Among decliners, Intel slipped 1.6 percent after Barclays downgraded the chipmaker's stock, saying it would face a costly battle to keep market share as its end-markets slowed.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.04-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.24-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 43 new 52-week highs and five new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 88 new highs and 45 new lows. (Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Patrick Graham and Arun Koyyur)

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