December 17, 2019 / 6:28 PM / a month ago

US STOCKS-Upbeat economic data helps Wall Street hover near record levels

* Stocks set for fifth straight session of gains

* Netflix leads gains on S&P 500

* S&P touches fresh record high

* November manufacturing and housing data beat expectations Indexes up: Dow 0.3%, S&P and Nasdaq 0.1% (For a live blog on the U.S. stock market, click or type LIVE/ in a news window)

By Uday Sampath Kumar

Dec 17 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were near record levels on Tuesday, following four straight sessions of gains, as investor confidence in the U.S. economy was reinforced following upbeat housing and manufacturing data.

The S&P 500 touched a record high for the fourth straight session and was set to build on its 27% gain this year, which was driven by expectations of a U.S.-China trade deal, a dovish Federal Reserve and upbeat economic indicators.

Data from the Fed showed manufacturing output rose more than expected in November, as General Motors' workers ending a strike boosted automobile production.

The rebound of U.S. manufacturing is lifting investor sentiment, said Jeff Zipper, managing director of investments at U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management in Florida.

"The path to least resistance seems to be up right now. Some of that predicated on data and (trade) tensions being less bad and that's helpful to the market."

Lower mortgage rates also helped U.S. homebuilding rise more than expected last month, driving up shares of home improvement chains Lowe's Cos Inc and Home Depot Inc, which was the biggest boost to the Dow Jones.

Netflix Inc rose 3.5% and was the biggest gainer on the S&P 500 after the streaming service provider said its growth overseas was accelerating, on the back of its Asia-Pacific business.

Financial stocks , which are known to track the health of the domestic economy rose 0.6%, and provided the biggest boost to the S&P 500.

Apple Inc hit a fresh record high and also provided a boost to Wall Street's major indexes.

At 12:50 p.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 78.33 points, or 0.28%, at 28,314.22, the S&P 500 was up 4.22 points, or 0.13%, at 3,195.67 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 5.45 points, or 0.06%, at 8,819.68.

Shares of Boeing Co, which said it would suspend production of its 737 MAX jet, reversed course after early losses.

While there is no major economic news due this week, a historic vote in the U.S. House of Representatives that is likely to result in the impeachment of President Donald Trump, poses another risk for investment decisions in the run-up to the 2020 election.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.70-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.14-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 37 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 119 new highs and 41 new lows. (Reporting by Uday Sampath and Abhishek Manikandan in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Shounak Dasgupta)

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