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Wall Street rises as technology shares gain

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks were higher on Thursday as technology shares showed signs of recovery following a selloff in the last two weeks that was triggered by worries over increased regulations.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 26, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Shares of Facebook (FB.O), Apple (AAPL.O) and Alphabet (GOOGL.O) were up between 0.15 percent and 1.3 percent, driving a 0.4 percent gain in the S&P technology index .SPLRCT.

The S&P 500 .SPX and the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI were on track to log their worst quarter in more than two years on concerns over a global trade war and interest rate hikes, as well as a rout in technology stocks caused by Facebook Inc’s (FB.O) data scandal.

“We’ve gone through a period of increased volatility and one with competing narratives – the bond market is telling us something about the economy and the stock market is concerned about valuations in technology shares,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR in Boston.

“In general, the market is trapped between two narratives.”

The yield on 10-year Treasury notes US10YT=RR fell to seven-week lows of 2.76 percent on rising demand for safe havens amid stock market volatility. [US/]

Spooked by brewing trade tensions and a broad reversal in technology shares, global investors have cut their equity exposure to a four-month low in March, while reducing their holdings of U.S. stocks to the lowest in nearly two years.

At 9:52 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 129.06 points, or 0.54 percent, at 23,977.48 and the S&P 500 .SPX was up 8.78 points, or 0.34 percent, at 2,613.78.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 4.21 points, or 0.06 percent, at 6,945.01.

Amazon (AMZN.O) fell 3.7 percent after President Donald Trump blasted the company with a list of complaints, a day after news website Axios reported that Trump wants to rein in the company’s growing power using federal antitrust laws.

The S&P consumer discretionary index .SPLRCD was the only loser among the 11 major S&P sectors.

GameStop (GME.N) shares fell 10.8 percent after the company provided disappointing full-year sales forecast.

Economic data released on Thursday did little to change the expectations on interest rate hikes.

Core personal consumption expenditures price index, the Federal Reserve’s favored inflation gauge, rose 1.6 percent on an annualized basis through February, in line with economists’ expectations.

Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, increased 0.2 percent last month after a similar gain in January.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE for a 5.59-to-1 ratio and for a 3.20-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva

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