June 19, 2019 / 7:02 PM / 3 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall Street climbs after Fed signals potential rate cuts

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* Fed holds rates steady, signals potential cuts this year

* Adobe buoys S&P 500 after strong quarterly results

* Dow up 0.13%, S&P up 0.11%, Nasdaq flat (Updates with afternoon trade after Fed announcement)

By Noel Randewich

June 19 (Reuters) - Wall Street rose on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve held interest rates steady and signaled potential cuts later this year, reassuring investors worried that the U.S.-China trade war could stall economic growth.

Saying it “will act as appropriate to sustain” economic expansion, the central bank signaled rate cuts of as much as half a percentage point over the remainder of 2019.

“We think the Fed delivered. It did no harm. It walked right up to a cut without doing it today. It’ll likely be coming in July absent some big trade news or other news,” said John Augustine, chief investment officer at Huntington Bank in Columbus, Ohio.

Buoyed by growing confidence the Fed will cut rates, and by hopes of an end to the U.S.-China trade war, U.S. stocks have climbed in recent weeks. The S&P 500 has gained about 6% in June and is about 1% away from its record high close set in April.

The financial sector dipped 0.1%, with bank stocks dipping 0.5%.

At 2:43 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.13% at 26,499.78 points, while the S&P 500 was up 0.11% at 2,921.06.

The Nasdaq Composite was flat at 7,953.98.

Contributing more than any other stock to the S&P 500’s advance, Adobe Inc surged 4.5% after the Photoshop software provider beat analysts’ estimates for quarterly profit and revenue.

Weighing most on the S&P 500 was Facebook, down 1.5%, as its ambitious plan to launch a digital currency faced a backlash from regulators and politicians in the United States and abroad.

The healthcare sector rose 0.8%, helped by gains in UnitedHealth Group Inc, Pfizer Inc and Allergan Plc.

Allergan jumped 5.7% after the drugmaker said its constipation drug, jointly developed with Ironwood Pharmaceuticals Inc, improved symptoms in patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome with constipation.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.31-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.17-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 30 new 52-week highs and 2 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 49 new highs and 55 new lows. (Reporting by Noel Randewich; Additional reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru Editing by Alistair Bell, Lisa Shumaker and Sonya Hepinstall)

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