January 9, 2019 / 3:20 PM / a month ago

US STOCKS-Wall Street rallies for fourth day on trade deal hopes

* Apple edges higher despite Nikkei report on production cut plans

* Oil gains for 8th day, lifts energy stocks

* Financials gain ahead of Fed minutes

* Constellation Brands tumbles after cutting profit forecast (Updates to open)

By Sruthi Shankar

Jan 9 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose for a fourth straight day on Wednesday, as gains in energy and technology stocks added to optimism over signs of progress in U.S.-China trade talks.

The S&P technology index rose 1.07 percent, boosted by Microsoft Corp, Apple Inc and chipmakers.

Shares of Boeing Co and Caterpillar Inc, sensitive to trade-related news, were up more than 1 percent, with the S&P industrial index gaining 0.64 percent.

Officials from the United States and China ended their talks in Beijing that lasted longer than expected and officials said details will be released soon, raising hopes that an all-out trade war that could badly disrupt the global economy can be averted.

Hopes of a trade deal between the world’s two largest economies, strong U.S. jobs data and Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell’s dovish remarks on interest rates have helped lift the S&P 500 9.7 percent from the 20-month low it hit around Christmas.

“There’s a solid uptrend that’s come off the Christmas Eve downturn. So any development that looks like it might be leading to an eventual resolution will be helpful to the markets,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.

The CBOE Volatility index, often referred to as an investor fear gauge, dropped half-a-point to a one-month low of 20.

A rally in oil prices for the eight straight day lifted the S&P energy index 1.05 percent.

Threatening to weigh on sentiment was the partial U.S. government shutdown that entered its 19th day as Democratic lawmakers and the White House remain divided over President Donald Trump’s demand for money for a border wall.

Fitch warned it could cut the country’s coveted triple-A sovereign credit rating later this year if the shutdown leads to it hitting its debt ceiling and hampering budget setting.

At 9:57 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 160.12 points, or 0.67 percent, at 23,947.57. The S&P 500 was up 11.05 points, or 0.43 percent, at 2,585.46 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 43.77 points, or 0.63 percent, at 6,940.77.

Amazon.com Inc, now the most valuable U.S. company that fueled the market’s recent surge, slipped.

Apple Inc edged 0.5 percent higher despite a Nikkei Asian Review report that the company had reduced planned production for its three new iPhone models for the January-March quarter.

The company had warned on holiday-quarter sales last week, hammering its stock as well as those of its suppliers, mostly chipmakers. The semiconductor space also got a beating on Tuesday after Samsung Electronics flagged weak chip demand.

Taking a breather, the Philadelphia Semiconductor index surged 2.69 percent.

Financial stocks rose 0.58 percent. Investors will be looking for new clues on interest rate policy when the Fed releases minutes from its December meeting later in the day and a speech on Thursday by Powell.

Shares in Constellation Brands Inc dropped 8.8 percent after the Corona brewer cut its profit outlook for fiscal 2019.

Booking Holdings Inc slipped 2.5 percent after two brokerages downgraded the online travel company and warned of higher costs from increasing competition.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.39-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 2.13-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded no new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 16 new highs and 4 new lows. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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