June 7, 2019 / 7:19 PM / 8 days ago

US STOCKS-Wall Street rallies on rate cut hopes, trade optimism

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* Weak U.S. employment report casts pall over economy

* Traders boost bets on Fed rate cuts

* U.S. gives Chinese exporters more time before higher tariffs

* Tech sector provides biggest boost

* Indexes up: Dow 1.17%, S&P 1.17%, Nasdaq 1.71% (Updates prices to late afternoon, adds commentary, New York dateline, changes byline)

By Sinéad Carew

New York June 7 (Reuters) - Wall Street’s main indexes rose about more than 1% on Friday, as a sharp slowdown in U.S. job growth raised hopes of Federal Reserve interest rate cuts and Washington’s decision to delay tariffs on Chinese goods adding to an appetite for risk.

The S&P 500 was on track for a 4.6% gain for the week, which would be its biggest since November.

A Labor Department report showed nonfarm payrolls increased by 75,000 jobs last month, much smaller than the 185,000 additions estimated by economists in a Reuters poll, suggesting the loss of momentum in economic activity was spreading to the labor market.

Investors took the jobs miss as a sign that the Fed would turn more accommodative to blunt the impact of escalating trade tensions on the economy. Traders raised their bets for a rate cut in July followed by two more rate cuts by year-end.

“It plays into a softening growth picture and perhaps lends more credence to additional rate cuts potentially above what the market’s looking for right now,” said Ryan Larson, head of U.S. equity trading at RBC Global Asset Management in Chicago.

“You’re getting a backdrop where you’re seeing a more accommodative Fed and potential progress on trade.”

At 2:51PM ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 299.96 points, or 1.17%, to 26,020.62, the S&P 500 gained 33.26 points, or 1.17%, to 2,876.75 and the Nasdaq Composite added 129.96 points, or 1.71%, to 7,745.51.

Also adding to optimism was a notice from U.S. officials granting Chinese exporters two more weeks to get their products to the United States before raising tariffs on those items.

But while U.S. President Donald Trump said there was a “good chance” of a US-Mexico trade deal, if the two countries failed to make an agreement he plans to impose a 5% tariff on Mexican imports on Monday.

“An interest rate cut is being priced into the market, but in order to go higher you do need to get progress on the trade front because in the longer term that is the bigger issue for markets,” said Larry Adam, chief investment officer at Raymond James in Baltimore, Maryland.

Technology stocks, among the hardest hit due to the recent escalation in trade tensions, rose 2% and provided the biggest boost.

The sector was lifted by gains in Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, Mastercard and Visa. Chipmakers, which get a major portion of their revenue from China, also gained, with the Philadelphia chip index rising 1%. Tariff-sensitive industrials rose 1% with Boeing Co its biggest boost. Caterpillar Inc rose about 1%.

Interest-rate sensitive bank stocks dropped 0.9%. The broader financial index dipped 0.07% and utilities fell 0.3% - the only major S&P sectors in the red.

Beyond Meat Inc shares surged 38.4% after the maker of plant-based burgers said it expects to more than double its revenue and report breakeven EBITDA this year.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 3.41-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.98-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 116 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 98 new highs and 93 new lows. (Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Chizu Nomiyama)

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