Tech Stocks Help Wall Street Tick Higher

(Reuters) – Technology stocks led Wall Street higher on Monday as investors eased off the pedal with earnings season dying down and the Thanksgiving holiday coming up.

With no major earnings or economic data scheduled this week, trading volumes are expected to thin leading up to the holiday on Thursday and an early close on Friday.

“Wall Street is looking for the next catalyst to move higher,” said Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist for Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company.

“And right now, the one that’s on the docket is tax reform. But the question is how much longer can we go higher and how much longer can the cycle last, and tax reform plays an impact in that.”

The U.S. House of Representatives passed their version of a tax bill last week. But the Senate, from which it has already faced resistance, is expected to vote on their version of the bill after Thanksgiving.

Any signs of repositioning ahead of the vote would be liable to impact investors’ thinking on the bill.

At 10:52 a.m. ET (1452 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 86.29 points, or 0.37 percent, at 23,444.53.

The S&P 500 was up 3.13 points, or 0.12 percent, at 2,581.98 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 7.49 points, or 0.11 percent, at 6,790.28.

Eight of the 11 major S&P indexes were higher. The gains were led by the telecoms index, which rose after Verizon gained 0.9 percent following a Wells Fargo upgrade.

Tech stocks were led higher by a roughly 1 percent gain in Cisco and IBM. The sector also got a boost from a 1 percent gain in semiconductor stocks on the back of merger news.

Cavium jumped 7.8 percent after larger rival Marvell said it would buy the company for about $6 billion. Marvell shares were up 1.33 percent.

Health stocks fell, weighed down by a 2.5 percent drop in Merck and 1.5 percent fall in Bristol-Myers after Roche announced a trial win for a competing cancer drug.

Energy stocks fell along with a 1.5 percent drop in oil prices on caution ahead of next week’s OPEC meeting when an extension of current curbs on output will be discussed.

Wal-Mart fell 1.3 percent after Goldman Sachs cut its rating on the stock to “neutral” from “buy”.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,572 to 1,193. On the Nasdaq, 1,608 issues rose and 1,098 fell.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)