June 11, 2019 / 4:05 PM / 3 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall Street higher on trade optimism, rate cut hopes

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* Dow set for seventh straight days of gains

* China stimulus, Mexico tariff relief helps mood

* United Technologies, Raytheon weigh on industrials

* Symantec falls on Morgan Stanley downgrade

* Indexes up: Dow 0.29%, S&P 0.30%, Nasdaq 0.37% (Updates prices, changes comment)

By Aparajita Saxena and Shreyashi Sanyal

June 11 (Reuters) - Wall Street's main indexes rose and the S&P 500 edged back toward record territory on Tuesday, as easing trade tensions with Mexico and hopes of an interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve lifted investor sentiment.

Optimism over President Donald Trump's decision late on Friday to hold off import tariffs on Mexico has helped markets this week, even though the United States warned it would impose tariffs if its demands were not satisfied.

The benchmark S&P 500 index is now just about 2% away from its early May record high and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is set to rise for the seventh straight day, its longest winning streak in 13 months.

Market is betting on an interest rate cut in July and two more this year as Trump's hard bargaining on trade with Beijing and others could push the economy back into recession.

Meanwhile, U.S. producer prices increased solidly for a second straight month in May, in line with expectations of economists polled by Reuters, pointing to a steady pickup in underlying inflation pressures.

"Investors are looking at moderating economic data. It is really what I believe is the disappointing read on inflation, which is increasing the odds of a rate cut," said Mike Loewengart, vice president, investment strategy at E*Trade Financial Corp in New York.

Meanwhile, Trump's comment on Monday that he would impose more tariffs on Chinese imports if there was no progress in talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit continues to remain a overhang on markets.

"The unresolved trade dispute with China is still a ceiling on the stock market. Don't expect the S&P 500 to get back to the record high of 2,945 until the trade agreement is signed or close to being signed," said Greg McBride, senior vice president and chief financial analyst at Bankrate in Palm Beach, Florida.

At 11:23 a.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 76.12 points, or 0.29%, at 26,138.80, the S&P 500 was up 8.71 points, or 0.30%, at 2,895.44 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 28.73 points, or 0.37%, at 7,851.90.

Markets gained as shares of large-cap companies - Facebook Inc, Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc, and Alphabet Inc - climbed between 0.6% and 2%.

But a drop in shares of United Technologies Corp and Raytheon Co kept capped the gains.

United Technologies fell 3.1% and Raytheon dropped 3.7%, a day after Trump gave mixed signals on whether he believed the $121 billion merger between the companies should go forward.

The industrials fell 0.51%, the most among the three sectors trading lower, including the defensive utilities and real estate.

Symantec Corp fell 3.1%, after Morgan Stanley downgraded the antivirus software maker's stock, citing increased competition.

Amid an escalating trade war, Beijing said it would allow local governments to use proceeds from special bonds as capital for major investment projects to support the slowing economy.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.54-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.15-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 47 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 48 new highs and 50 new lows. (Reporting By Aparajita Saxena and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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