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Nasdaq leads Wall St gains as tech shares rise

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By Shubham Batra and Shristi Achar A

(Reuters) – Nasdaq led Wall Street gains on Wednesday as technology shares rose, though investors refrained from making large bets ahead of inflation data and the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting next week.

Major technology and growth stocks, barring Microsoft and Amazon Inc, rose between 0.7% and 3.8%.

Netflix climbed 2.9% after Wells Fargo raised the stock’s target price to $500 from $400 per share, the highest on Wall Street, according to Refinitiv, while Tesla rose 3.8%.

Eight of the 11 S&P sub-sectors advanced, led by energy stocks that rose 1.8%. Consumer staples, financials and healthcare shares fell.

Inflation data in the U.S. is expected to show consumer prices cooled slightly on a month-over-month basis in May but core prices are likely to have remained elevated.

U.S. stock market closed higher on Tuesday, with S&P 500 up almost 20% from its October 2022 lows, underpinned by rising expectations that the Fed will keep interest rates steady at its policy meeting on June 13-14.

“Sentiment remains positive but this is a period of a positive cautious attitude. Everyone is just waiting for the two events next week,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities.

Money market participants see a 77% chance that the U.S. central bank will skip raising interest rate in its June meeting but will hike in July, according to the CME’s Fedwatch tool.

Lifting sentiment, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a CNBC interview that she sees signs of easing labor market and a path to bring down inflation.

U.S. shares have been boosted by a rally in megacap stocks and a stronger-than-expected earnings season. However, some analysts say that big tech and other major growth stocks could soon see some profit-taking.

At 9:52 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 38.17 points, or 0.11%, at 33,611.45, the S&P 500 was up 14.58 points, or 0.34%, at 4,298.43, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 83.28 points, or 0.63%, at 13,359.70.

Among other stocks, Yext Inc soared 35.4% after the New York-based online marketing firm raised its annual earnings forecast.

Campbell Soup fell 6.3% after the packaged food maker posted lower third-quarter gross margin, dented by high commodity and freight costs.

Salesforce added 0.7% after the cloud-based software provider announced an expanded AI partnership with Google Cloud.

Coinbase shares rose 4.0% after hitting a seven-month low on Tuesday as the Securities and Exchange Commission sued the largest U.S. crypto exchange, accusing it of operating illegally, without having first registered with regulator.

Cathie Wood’s Ark Invest bought 419,324 shares of Coinbase on Tuesday.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 3.53-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 2.65-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 13 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 89 new highs and 14 new lows.

(Reporting by Shubham Batra and Shristi Achar A in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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