By Shreyashi Sanyal
(Reuters) - The Dow and the S&P 500 hit record highs on Thursday, clearing away investors' immediate concerns over trade at the start of this week and leaving Wall Street free to return to a rally that now dates back a decade.
Tech stocks were again at the forefront of gains, led by chipmakers and a 1.1 percent rise in Apple (O:AAPL), which has drawn heart from the exclusion of some products from the list of U.S. tariffs on China on Monday.
Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, and the Dow Industrials, which had lagged the Nasdaq and the S&P, quickly moved back into record territory in morning trade.
"The new record territories for the Dow and the S&P are fueled by lesser trade worries and just general enthusiasm about the economy," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.
At 11:28 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) was up 234.42 points, or 0.89 percent, at 26,640.18, the S&P 500 (SPX) was up 19.10 points, or 0.66 percent, at 2,927.05 and the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) was up 64.81 points, or 0.82 percent, at 8,014.84.
Samsung Electronics (KS:005930) said it was planning to lower memory chip growth output next year to keep supplies tight amid an expected slowdown in demand, Bloomberg reported.
The move could either help maintain or push semiconductor prices up, although it could also be another signal of weakening momentum in a sector which saw its first blips in years in the first half.
"Many investors are currently looking for companies with more pricing power and is certainly a theme for semiconductors to move higher on," said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.
After having slapped new tariffs on each other's goods this week, China now hopes that Washington will show sincerity and take steps to correct its behavior.
Under Armour (N:UAA) rose 6.4 percent after the sportswear maker said it would cut about 400 global workforce positions, as part of efforts to cut costs to compete with Nike (N:NKE) and Germany's Adidas (DE:ADSGn) in North America.
Nike climbed 1.5 percent after brokerage Susquehanna highlighted the company's improving sales of footwear.
However, General Electric (N:GE) dropped 3.7 percent after the company flagged issues with its new H-class gas turbine.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.81-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 2.44-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 36 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 46 new highs and 25 new lows.
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