December 17, 2019 / 5:15 PM / a month ago

US STOCKS-Wall Street hovers near record levels supported by strong economic data

* Stocks set for fifth straight session of gains

* Netflix leads gains on S&P 500

* J&J up 1% on stock upgrade

* November manufacturing and housing data beat expectations

* Dow up 0.2%, S&P 500 up 0.1%, Nasdaq flat (For a live blog on the U.S. stock market, click or type LIVE/ in a news window.)

By Uday Sampath Kumar

Dec 17 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks hovered around record levels on Tuesday after a four-day rally, as investor confidence in the U.S. economy was reinforced with upbeat manufacturing and housing data.

The S&P 500 was set to build on its 27% gain this year, driven mainly by expectations of a U.S.-China trade deal, a dovish Federal Reserve and upbeat economic indicators.

Data from the Federal Reserve showed manufacturing output rose more than expected in November, as the end of a strike at General Motors plants boosted auto production.

The rebound of U.S. manufacturing is “certainly” lifting investor sentiment, said Jeff Zipper, managing director of investments at U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management in Florida.

“The path to least resistance seems to be up right now. Some of that predicated on data and (trade) tensions being less bad and that’s helpful to the market.”

Data also showed that U.S. homebuilding last month rose more than expected, which boosted stocks of home improvement chains Home Depot Inc and Lowe’s Cos Inc.

Cyclical sectors, which tend to do better with an improving economy, were higher on Tuesday, with financial stocks providing the biggest boost to the S&P 500.

Netflix Inc rose 3.3% after the streaming service provider said its growth overseas is accelerating on the back of its Asia-Pacific business.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 65.85 points, or 0.23%, at 28,301.74, the S&P 500 was up 2.67 points, or 0.08%, at 3,194.12 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.41 points, or 0.00%, at 8,814.64.

Shares of Boeing Co, which said it would suspend production of its 737 MAX jet, reversed course after early losses.

Johnson & Johnson gained 1.0% after reports that Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock.

While there is no major economic news due this week, a historic vote in the U.S. House of Representatives that is likely to result in the impeachment of President Donald Trump, poses another risk for investment decisions in the run-up to the 2020 election.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.48-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.01-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 33 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 103 new highs and 39 new lows. (Reporting by Uday Sampath and Abhishek Manikandan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Maju Samuel)

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