June 7, 2019 / 4:57 PM / 12 days ago

US STOCKS-Wall Street rallies on rate cut hopes, trade optimism

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* Weak U.S. employment report casts pall over economy

* Traders boost bets on Fed rate cuts

* U.S. gives Chinese exporters more time before higher tariffs

* Tech sector provides biggest boost

* Indexes up: Dow 1.12%, S&P 1.20%, Nasdaq 1.73% (Updates prices to early afternoon)

By Amy Caren Daniel

June 7 (Reuters) - Wall Street’s main indexes rose about 1% on Friday, as a sharp slowdown in U.S. job growth raised hopes of an interest rate cut, with Washington’s decision to delay tariffs on Chinese goods adding to the upbeat mood.

The S&P 500 is up about 4.5% this week, putting it on pace for its biggest weekly gain since November on rising expectations that the Fed would turn more accommodative to blunt the impact of escalating trade tensions.

A Labor Department report showed nonfarm payrolls increased by 75,000 jobs last month, much smaller than the 185,000 additions estimated by economists in a Reuters poll, suggesting the loss of momentum in economic activity was spreading to the labor market.

“It was a goldilocks number. The number was weaker than expected and we are one step closer to the Fed cutting rates before the end of the year,” said Larry Adam, chief investment officer at Raymond James in Baltimore, Maryland.

“An interest rate cut is being priced into the market, but in order to go higher you do need to get progress on the trade front because in the longer term that is the bigger issue for markets.”

Following the weak jobs data, traders raised their bets that the Federal Reserve will start cutting rates in July followed by two more rate cuts before the end of the year.

Interest-rate sensitive bank stocks dropped 0.86%, while the broader financial sector dipped 0.06% and was the only major S&P sector trading lower.

Also helping sentiment, the United States officially granted Chinese exporters two more weeks to get their products into the country before increasing tariffs, according to a U.S. government notice posted online.

“The fact that they are talking and the tariffs don’t go into effect immediately is being seen as progress on trade,” Adam said.

Tariff-sensitive Boeing Co and Caterpillar Inc rose about 1%, while industrial stocks gained 1.03%.

At 12:28 p.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 287.13 points, or 1.12%, at 26,007.79. The S&P 500 was up 34.23 points, or 1.20%, at 2,877.72 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 132.02 points, or 1.73%, at 7,747.57.

On the tussle with Mexico, a senior White House official said if talks continue to go well, President Donald Trump could decide not to move forward with tariffs on Mexican imports on Monday.

Technology stocks, among the hardest hit due to the recent escalation in trade tensions, rose 2.10% and provided the biggest boost.

The sector was lifted by gains in Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and chipmakers, which get a major portion of their revenue from China. The Philadelphia chip index rose 1.13%.

Beyond Meat Inc shares surged 36.7% after the maker of plant-based burgers said it expects to more than double its revenue and report breakeven EBITDA this year.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 3.59-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 2.09-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 110 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 93 new highs and 79 new lows. (Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Anil D’Silva)

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