August 3, 2018 / 4:56 PM / 17 days ago

US STOCKS-S&P, Dow gain as earnings optimism offsets trade tensions

* China plans duties on about $60 bln of U.S. imports

* Kraft Heinz, Take-Two gain after strong results

* Activision Blizzard dips on weak revenue forecast

* Dow up 0.36 pct, S&P up 0.25 pct, Nasdaq down 0.06 pct (Changes comment, updates prices)

By Amy Caren Daniel

Aug 3 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and Dow rose on Friday as a clutch of upbeat quarterly earnings overshadowed worries of an escalating trade war between the United States and China, after Beijing proposed new tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods.

China’s retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods ranged from liquefied natural gas (LNG) to certain types of aircraft and came after President Donald Trump proposed 25 percent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.

Trade-sensitive stocks such as Boeing and Caterpillar fell 0.7 percent and 0.4 percent. LNG exporter Cheniere Energy dropped 2.2 percent.

“The rhetoric between U.S. and China has been ongoing and everyone has already made their bets on what the trade war is going to be,” said Craig Hodges, portfolio manager with Hodges Funds in Dallas, Texas.

The S&P consumer staples sector rose 1.17 percent and led gains among the major S&P sectors.

Kraft Heinz jumped 8 percent and was the biggest boost to the sector after the company topped quarterly profit and revenue estimates.

Take-Two jumped 10.5 percent, the most on the benchmark S&P 500, after the videogame maker’s quarterly revenue topped estimates. Its rival Activision Blizzard forecast revenue that was below expectations.

However, a fall in technology companies such as Google-parent Alphabet, which was down 0.6 percent, and Activision Blizzard’s 3.8 percent drop weighed on the Nasdaq.

“Technology was really strong yesterday and there’s a little bit of a give back,” Hodges said.

At 12:36 p.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 90.32 points, or 0.36 percent, at 25,416.48, the S&P 500 was up 7.20 points, or 0.25 percent, at 2,834.42 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 4.35 points, or 0.06 percent, at 7,798.34.

Only two of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower. The energy sector fell 0.77 percent on the back of lower crude oil prices.

Symantec slipped 10.1 percent and was among the biggest decliners on the S&P, after the antivirus software maker lowered its yearly revenue forecast.

Dish jumped 6.8 percent after the satellite TV services provider reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit.

Economic data showed U.S. jobs growth slowed more than expected in July as employment in the transportation and utilities sectors fell, but a drop in the unemployment rate suggested that the labor market was tightening.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.26-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.54-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 21 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 66 new highs and 56 new lows. (Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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