* Bond yields ease from Wednesday’s peak
* Energy leads gainers on S&P 500
* United Tech climbs on breakup plans
* Dow up 1.02 pct, S&P 500 up 0.49 pct, Nasdaq up 0.22 pct (Updates to mid-afternoon, changes byline)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Feb 22 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks advanced on Thursday, putting major indexes on track to snap a recent spate of declines, buoyed by gains in industrial and energy shares as U.S. Treasury yields eased.
The Dow and S&P dropped for a second consecutive session and the Nasdaq fell for a third straight on Wednesday after minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s January meeting showed the central bank’s rate-setting committee grew more confident in the need to keep raising rates.
Concerns about a faster pace of rate hikes from the central bank were eased by comments on Thursday from St. Louis Fed President James Bullard that expressed concerns a “bunch of hikes” could turn Fed policy restrictive, and benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields retreated from the more than four-year highs hit on Wednesday.
“After yesterday’s Fed minutes, the market is watching some of these Fed president’s speeches more closely,” said Lindsey Bell, investment strategist at CFRA Research in New York.
“People are just looking for any clue they can about rate hikes going forward so they are taking every word that these guys say to heart.”
Market participants are still largely expecting the Fed to raise rates three times this year.
Despite the recent climb in rates, many analysts expect the market to be able to absorb the rise as long as economic data remain supportive and the pace of the increase is modest.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 252.78 points, or 1.02 percent, to 25,050.56, the S&P 500 gained 13.22 points, or 0.49 percent, to 2,714.55 and the Nasdaq Composite added 15.53 points, or 0.22 percent, to 7,233.76.
Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 6/32 in price to yield 2.9189 percent, from 2.941 percent late on Wednesday.
Industrial shares climbed 0.97 percent, led by a 4.19 percent gain in Quanta Services after its quarterly results and a 3.26 percent rise in United Technologies after the aero parts maker said it is exploring a breakup of its business portfolio.
Energy stocks, up 1.64 percent and on pace for their best day in a month, also helped support gains, as oil prices advanced on a surprise draw in U.S. crude inventories.
In addition, Chesapeake Energy shares surged 18.63 percent and were on pace for their biggest daily percentage gain since April 2016 after its quarterly results and outlook.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.75-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.01-to-1 ratio favored advancers. (Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)