* Nike shares surge after strong results, forecast
* Financials gain after lenders pass Fed’s stress test
* Core PCE hits Fed’s 2 percent target
* Indexes up: Dow 0.9 pct, S&P 0.7 pct, Nasdaq 0.6 pct (Updates to late afternoon, changes byline, adds NEW YORK to dateline)
By April Joyner
NEW YORK, June 29 (Reuters) - A surge in Nike Inc shares and a rally in bank stocks lifted Wall Street’s major stock indexes on Friday, though all three were still on track to post weekly declines.
Shares of Nike soared 13 percent to hit an all-time high of $81 after the world’s largest footwear maker reported a return to growth in North America in the last quarter and gave an upbeat forecast for the year.
Nike shares were last up 11.5 percent to $79.91, on track for their biggest one-day gain in nearly four years. Nike was the top boost to the Dow and the S&P 500.
The S&P 500 bank sector index rose 1.1 percent after touching its highest level in a week as U.S. lenders cleared the second part of the Federal Reserve’s annual stress tests.
Wells Fargo & Co led the gains, jumping 4.4 percent, while shares of Citigroup Inc, U.S. Bancorp, M&T Bank Corp and SunTrust Banks Inc were all up more than 1 percent.
“It’s certainly an item of good news in the absence of much to bite on,” Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia, said of the stress test results.
Investors took in stride U.S. Commerce Department data that showed consumer spending slowing as the core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, a measure of inflation, hit the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent annual target for the first time in six years. On several occasions this year, worries of rising inflation and a subsequent economic slowdown have sent stocks tumbling.
“We’re carrying on from what we saw yesterday,” Luschini said. “People are squaring away positions going into the month and the quarter’s end.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 217.09 points, or 0.9 percent, to 24,433.14, the S&P 500 gained 19.76 points, or 0.73 percent, to 2,736.07 and the Nasdaq Composite added 46.61 points, or 0.62 percent, to 7,550.29.
Shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc jumped 15.3 percent, the most on the S&P 500, after rival Galapagos NV’s cystic fibrosis program reported disappointing trial data.
KB Home shares climbed 7.2 percent after the homebuilder’s second-quarter results beat Wall Street estimates. The strong results also boosted shares of other homebuilders, including D.R. Horton Inc and PulteGroup Inc.
Constellation Brands Inc fell 4.8 percent after the Corona beer maker’s quarterly profit and full-year earnings forecast missed analysts’ estimates.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.65-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.50-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 10 new 52-week highs and one new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 47 new highs and 59 new lows. (Reporting by April Joyner Additional reporting by Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler)