March 6, 2018 / 8:11 PM / 5 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall Street climbs as trade war worries cool

* Investors draw hope from lawmaker comments on Trump tariff plan

* North Korea willing to hold talks with U.S. on denuclearization

* Qualcomm dips as U.S. sees security risk from Broadcom deal

* Dow up 0.22 pct, S&P up 0.34 pct, Nasdaq up 0.57 pct (Updates to late afternoon, adds commentary, changes byline)

By Sinéad Carew

March 6 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday in a choppy session as investors watched anxiously for signs U.S. President Donald Trump would scrap proposed tariffs to avoid a trade war.

U.S. lawmakers stepped up calls for Trump to pull back from proposed import tariffs on steel and aluminum while others talked down the possibility of a trade war, helping to calm nerves after the President’s proposal sparked a sell-off Thursday.

A Bloomberg report quoting a Trump ally saying he was open to changes to his proposal was cited by traders as the reason for a midday jump into positive territory for Wall Street.

Investors were also eyeing the news that North Korea was open to the possibility of talks with the United States on denuclearization.

“The market is basically grasping for straws around what the (tariff) policy is going to be. Based on the action we saw today it’s hoping it doesn’t turn into a trade war,” said Jonathan Mackay, investment strategist at Schroders Investment Management in New York, adding that “North Korea helps around the margin.”

At 2:50 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 53.66 points, or 0.22 percent, to 24,928.42, the S&P 500 gained 9.28 points, or 0.34 percent, to 2,730.22 and the Nasdaq Composite added 41.51 points, or 0.57 percent, to 7,372.21.

Most of the S&P’s 11 sectors rose with the materials index leading the gainers with a 1.3 percent gain. Utilities was the weakest sector with a 1 percent drop.

Among bigger movers, shares in Target were down 4.7 percent after the big-box retailer reported lower-than-expected profit for the holiday quarter.

Qualcomm dropped 4.5 percent after a U.S. government national security panel said it identified potential risks that warrant a full investigation of Broadcom Ltd’s $117-billion bid for the chipmaker.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.23-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.93-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 20 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 120 new highs and 16 new lows. (Additional reporting by Ankur Banerjee and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Nick Zieminski)

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