* Energy stocks lead in percentage gains
* Producer price rise hits interest-rate-sensitive sectors
* Sprint, T-Mobile jump on report of resumed merger talks
* Indexes up: Dow 1.9 pct, S&P 1.8 pct, Nasdaq 2.1 pct (Updates to late afternoon, changes byline, adds dateline NEW YORK)
By April Joyner
NEW YORK, April 10 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were higher on Tuesday as investor concerns about rising U.S.-China trade tension eased after Chinese President Xi Jinping promised to cut import tariffs.
The technology sector, which would be particularly exposed to a negative impact from tense trade relations with China, provided the biggest boost to the S&P.
Xi said China will widen market access for foreign investors, a point of contention for U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration.
His comments buoyed global markets, which have been under pressure as China and the United States threatened each other with billions of dollars in tariffs.
“There’s less worry about whether tariffs have the possibility of snuffing out global growth,” said Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis.
The energy index had the highest percentage gain among the S&P’s 11 major sectors, adding nearly 4 percent as oil broke above $70 a barrel.
Only utilities and real estate, which are sensitive to interest rates, posted losses.
U.S. producer prices rose more than expected in March, indicating that inflation is strengthening.
But the increase in producer prices did not prompt broader concerns about future market performance.
“It’s not enough to offset better expectations about the overall economy,” Warne said.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 442.09 points, or 1.84 percent, to 24,421.19, the S&P 500 gained 45.57 points, or 1.74 percent, to 2,658.73 and the Nasdaq Composite added 141.90 points, or 2.04 percent, to 7,092.24.
U.S. stocks will face a major test in coming weeks as first-quarter earnings pour in. JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo will kick off the earnings season on Friday.
Analysts expect quarterly profits for S&P 500 companies to rise 18.5 percent from a year ago, which would be the biggest gain in seven years, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Facebook Inc shares rose 3.5 percent after Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg began his testimony before Congress and took questions from lawmakers.
Zuckerberg’s testimony aimed to strike a conciliatory tone in an attempt to blunt possible regulatory fallout from the privacy scandal engulfing his social network.
Sprint Corp shares jumped 18.4 percent after reports that the company had restarted merger talks with T-Mobile US Inc . T-Mobile shares rose 6.9 percent.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 3.67-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.99-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 6 new 52-week highs and 1 new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 47 new highs and 30 new lows. (Additional reporting by Sweta Singh in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Diptendu Lahiri; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Chizu Nomiyama)