* Washington Post: WH official of interest in Russia probe
* NY Times: Trump said firing Comey relieved “great pressure”
* Indexes up: Dow 0.63 pct, S&P 0.63 pct, Nasdaq 0.5 pct (Updates to late afternoon, adds commentary, changes byline)
By Sinead Carew
NEW YORK, May 19 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks pared gains in late afternoon trading after two reports related to an investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the election campaign of U.S. President Donald Trump.
A current White House official is a significant person of interest in the law enforcement investigation, the Washington Post reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.
Separately the New York Times reported that Trump told Russian officials at the White House that firing FBI Director James Comey relieved “great pressure” from an ongoing probe into Russia and the election. The Times report cited a document summarizing the meeting.
“You’ve headline risk and the market sold off briefly because of those headlines on a slow Friday afternoon,” Andrew Frankel, co-president of Stuart Frankel & Co in New York.
At 3:30PM ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 129.7 points, or 0.63 percent, to 20,792.72, the S&P 500 had gained 14.88 points, or 0.63 percent, to 2,380.6 and the Nasdaq Composite had added 30.06 points, or 0.50 percent, to 6,085.19.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 3.27-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.70-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 24 new 52-week highs and 8 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 80 new highs and 55 new lows. (Additional reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Chizu Nomiyama)