December 20, 2019 / 6:32 PM / a month ago

US STOCKS-Trade progress, consumer spending propel Wall St to fresh highs

* Nike falls as North America revenue disappoints

* Carnival Corp top pct gainer on S&P 500

* Consumer spending rose 0.4% last month

* Indexes up: Dow 0.5%, S&P 0.6%, Nasdaq 0.5%

By Uday Sampath Kumar and C Nivedita

Dec 20 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 hit a record high for the seventh straight session on Friday, its longest in over two years, as investor sentiment improved on progress in U.S.-China trade relations and strength in domestic consumer spending.

The Dow Industrials and Nasdaq were heading for a second consecutive week of gains, while the benchmark S&P 500 was set to wrap up its fourth weekly advance.

U.S. President Donald Trump claimed progress on issues from trade to North Korea and Hong Kong after speaking with Chinese President Xi Jinping, dispelling fears of another escalation in the trade dispute.

“What investors like is that we seem very, very close to signing a phase one (trade) deal,” said Michael Geraghty, equity strategist at Cornerstone Capital Group.

“The details will be important and interesting, but I think for investors, what’s important right now is that finally China and the U.S. seem to be on the same page.”

Consumer spending, a key to U.S. economic growth and a major focus for investors, rose 0.4% last month, adding to a string of upbeat data that have helped put behind recession fears, which had dogged markets earlier this year.

At 12:48 p.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 134.62 points, or 0.47%, at 28,511.58, the S&P 500 was up 17.91 points, or 0.56%, at 3,223.28 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 40.47 points, or 0.46%, at 8,927.69.

The Dow touched an all-time high for the second straight session, while the Nasdaq hit intraday records for the third straight day.

All 11 major S&P 500 sectors were in the black, with technology and healthcare stocks providing the biggest boost.

Nike Inc fell 1.4%, after the world’s largest sportswear maker reported lower-than-expected growth in revenue from North America.

Cruise operators were the top percentage gainers on the S&P 500, led by Carnival Corp which rose 7.3% after forecasting a 2020 profit largely above estimates.

U.S. Steel Corp tumbled 9.5%, after the company said it expects a bigger-than-expected fourth-quarter loss.

Markets are likely to be volatile on Friday due to “quadruple witching,” where investors unwind positions in futures and options contracts before their expiration.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.96-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.33-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 72 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 144 new highs and 29 new lows.

Reporting by Uday Sampath and C Nivedita in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Shounak Dasgupta

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