June 8, 2018 / 7:13 PM / 4 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall Street rises, investors eye Fed decision, summit fears ebb

* Investors shrug off concerns about G7 summit

* Healthcare and consumer staples sectors rise

* Indexes up: Dow 0.25 pct, S&P 500 up 0.25 pct, Nasdaq 0.17 pct (Updates to late afternoon, adds commentary, changes byline, adds New York dateline)

By Sinéad Carew

NEW YORK, June 8 (Reuters) - U.S. stock indexes edged higher in a choppy trading session on Friday as investors placed bets ahead of a busy week of central bank meetings and appeared to shrug off concerns about global trade.

The S&P 500 reversed losses in the early afternoon and stayed in positive territory with its biggest boosts coming from the health care and consumer staples sectors.

Investors appeared to put aside worries about U.S. relations with its biggest trading partners after U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in Canada on Friday for what was expected to be a tense summit with other leaders of the G7 major countries.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Trump, who exchanged terse Twitter messages ahead of the summit, had a brief “very cordial” discussion about trade and North Korea, a French official said on Friday.

“Investors aren’t really trading on the big news of the day which is the G7,” Katrina Lamb, head of investment strategy and research at MV Financial, in Bethesda, Maryland. “This stuff is going to matter at some point. The optics of the G7 alone are something that should concern people but in terms of the practical immediate effect probably not much.”

In the meantime, investors focused on expectations for strong growth among U.S. corporations, according to Lamb citing expectations for sales growth of more than 7 percent this year. She also pointed to Wall Street estimates for 2018 earnings growth of 22.2 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

“The math looks really good in terms of the relation between price and earnings and sales,” she said. “This is a perfectly good time to be long the market.”

At 2:53 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 62.35 points, or 0.25 percent, to 25,303.76, the S&P 500 gained 6.98 points, or 0.25 percent, to 2,777.35 and the Nasdaq Composite added 12.64 points, or 0.17 percent, to 7,647.71.

The consumer staples index was the biggest percentage gainer of the S&P’s 11 major sectors. Its biggest driver was Procter & Gamble which continued its rally from the previous day with a 1.6 percent gain

Monster Beverage, another staples company, rose 4.7 percent after the energy drink maker said it was “highly likely” it would raise prices later in the year.

The Healthcare index was the S&P’s boost with a 0.64 percent gain and its biggest driver was Allergan, which was up 4 percent.

Dragging on the S&P technology sector was Apple Inc and its suppliers which were down following a report that the iPhone maker was planning to produce fewer phones this year. Apple was last down 1 percent.

Investors were also likely preparing for the week ahead. The Federal Reserve is widely expected to hike rates for the second time this year but investors will be watching for signals from the U.S. central bank on its plans for the rest of the year.

An unprecedented U.S.-North Korea summit is also scheduled for June 12 in Singapore.

“Next week is a huge week for the news cycle, with the FOMC meet and the North Korea summit, there is probably a little bit of position squaring before the weekend,” said Mark Heppenstall, chief investment officer at Penn Mutual Asset Management.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.42-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.37-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 22 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 128 new highs and 17 new lows. (Additional reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch in New York, Ankur Banerjee and Parikshit Mishra in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Aparajita Saxena; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Chizu Nomiyama)

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