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US STOCKS-Nasdaq leads gains as stimulus delay favors tech; Alibaba slumps

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* Technology sector outperforms

* Alibaba at lowest level since early July

* Indexes up: Dow 0.16%, S&P 0.25%, Nasdaq 0.38% (Updates to market open)

Dec 24 (Reuters) - Wall Street’s main indexes rose in a shortened session on Thursday as technology stocks gained on the prospect of a delay to the coronavirus stimulus package, while Alibaba slumped after China launched an antitrust investigation.

Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives blocked attempts to alter a $2.3 trillion aid and government spending package, which was unanimously passed by Congress on Monday.

Reports earlier said Democrats aimed to win quick passage of legislation providing $2,000 in direct payments to Americans after President Donald Trump unexpectedly insisted on the provision.

“The market is just muddled by confusion over how the stimulus is going to play out and whether there’s a potential even for a government shutdown,” said Rick Meckler, partner at Cherry Lane Investments in New Vernon, New Jersey.

“The stimulus will be coming, but whether it’s delayed until Biden takes office or whether they can negotiate it over the next couple of days is an open question.”

Markets will close at 1:00 PM ET on Thursday and will be closed for Christmas holiday on Friday.

Lifting sentiment was Britain and the European Union striking a Brexit trade deal at the eleventh hour.

At 10:16 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 48.03 points, or 0.16%, at 30,177.86, the S&P 500 was up 9.30 points, or 0.25%, at 3,699.31. The Nasdaq Composite was up 48.44 points, or 0.38%, at 12,819.55.

Financials, industrials and energy stocks were the worst performing sectors.

Technology was the best performing S&P sector, rising about 0.8%.

Alibaba Group plunged 13.8% to a near six-month low after China launched an antitrust investigation into the company as part of an accelerating crackdown on anticompetitive behavior.

The news also pulled down U.S.-listed shares of other Chinese companies like Baidu Inc and JD.com Inc.

Altimmune Inc slipped 8.2% after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a clinical hold on the drug developer’s application to begin human testing of its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine, AdCOVID.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.15-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.10-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 5 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 107 new highs and 4 new lows. (Reporting by Devik Jain and Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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