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Company News

US STOCKS-Tech leads Wall St higher as virus fears rise

* U.S. coronavirus cases top 7 million

* Costco Wholesale drops on high COVID-19 costs

* Cruise operators jump after Barclays upgrade

* Indexes up: Dow 0.97%, S&P 1.23%, Nasdaq 1.79% (Updates prices to mid-afternoon)

Sept 25 (Reuters) - Technology stocks again rode to Wall Street’s rescue on Friday, propelling the main indexes higher, but the Dow and the S&P 500 were on track for their longest weekly losing streak in a year after fears of an economic slowdown sparked a sell-off.

Investors started buying beaten-down shares after the Nasdaq entered corrective territory last week and the S&P 500 briefly broke that barrier earlier this week.

The Dow and S&P 500 were poised for their fourth straight weekly declines, the longest weekly losing streak since August 2019. The Nasdaq was on track to close higher for the week after falling the previous three weeks.

Investors are looking at the long term and believe technology remains the investment of choice, said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New York.

“It’s dip buying,” Moya said. “When you look at the correction that we’ve seen in these tech giants, people are still going to want to hold U.S. equities. The reality is that 2021 is going to be a much higher stock market and you’re probably going to see tech still lead the way.”

Shares of tech mega-caps including Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc, Amazon.com Inc, Apple Inc and Netflix Inc, which tend to outperform during economic uncertainty, climbed between 1.0% and 3.3%.

The information technology index jumped 1.83% as investors ditched value-linked stocks on signs of a slowdown in the broader economic recovery.

Volatility has also shot up as investors look for clarity on whether Congressional will approve more stimulus ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election.

“You’ve had this nice recovery through the summer, and coming into the fall the economy is just a little bit more vulnerable, particularly with a lot of the stimulus that we had starting to taper off now,” said Mike Dowdall, portfolio manager at BMO Global Asset Management in Chicago.

At 2:32 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 259.05 points, or 0.97%, to 27,074.49, the S&P 500 gained 40.04 points, or 1.23%, to 3,286.63, and the Nasdaq Composite added 191.36 points, or 1.79%, to 10,863.63.

The S&P industrials sector added 1.39% as data showed new orders for key U.S.-made capital goods jumped in August, while a 1.1% slide in energy stocks put them on course for one of their worst weeks since the coronavirus-driven crash in March.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival Corp each jumped more than 7% after a report said Barclays upgraded their shares to “overweight.”

Boeing Co gained 4.9% after Europe’s chief aviation safety regulator said the planemaker’s grounded 737 MAX could receive regulatory approval to resume flying in November and enter service by the end of the year. Boeing gave the Dow its biggest boost.

Costco Wholesale Corp fell 1.5% as the warehouse chain recorded high coronavirus-related costs for a second straight quarter.

Novavax Inc jumped 10.8% after the drugmaker launched a late-stage trial of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine in the UK.

The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. topped 7 million, as Midwest states reported spikes in COVID-19 infections in September, according to a Reuters tally.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.88-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.48-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted one new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 18 new highs and 40 new lows. (Reporting by Herbert Lash in New York; Additional reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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