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US STOCKS-Nvidia, Microsoft power gains for S&P 500

Medha Singh and Devik Jain
·3 mins read

(For a live blog on the U.S. stock market, click or type LIVE/ in a news window)

* Private payrolls increase by 428,000 in August

* Nvidia climbs as analysts cheer new gaming chip

* Macy's gains on smaller quarterly loss

* Indexes up: Dow 0.80%, S&P 0.63%, Nasdaq 0.22% (Updates to open)

By Medha Singh and Devik Jain

Sept 2 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 rose on Wednesday for the ninth time in the past ten sessions on a boost from Nvidia and Microsoft, as data showed a moderate increase in U.S. private payrolls last month.

The best performing S&P 500 constituent Nvidia Corp gained 4.3% after several brokerages hiked their price targets on its shares, following the announcement of powerful gaming chips in collaboration with Micron Technology Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

The Philadelphia SE chip index rose 1.8%.

Technology stocks provided the biggest boost to the benchmark index. Defensive sectors such as utilities and consumer services posted the biggest percentage rise.

U.S. private employers hired 428,000 workers in August, according to the ADP report, far below economists' forecast of a 950,000 increase, signaling the labor market recovery was slowing as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on and fiscal stimulus fades.

"It's a pretty substantial miss, but still much better than what we saw last month, so there is a sustained yet modest improvement," said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E*TRADE Financial Corp in Jersey City.

Focus will now be on the government's comprehensive employment report which is slated for Friday.

The U.S. Federal Reserve's move to revamp its policy framework to support maximum employment has fueled a Wall Street rally, and sent the S&P 500 and Nasdaq to new record highs.

The Dow is about 2% below its all-time high on Feb. 12.

Market experts have warned that at these elevated levels, Wall Street's indexes are ripe for a pullback, especially in the weeks leading up to the election in November.

President Donald Trump has overtaken Democratic rival Joe Biden to stand as the favorite to win the election on Europe-based betting exchange Betfair, while in a Reuters/Ipsos national opinion poll on Wednesday, 40% of registered voters supported Trump, compared with 47% who said they will vote for Biden.

At 10:28 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 228.93 points, or 0.80%, at 28,874.59 and the S&P 500 was up 22.21 points, or 0.63%, at 3,548.86. The Nasdaq Composite was up 25.98 points, or 0.22%, at 11,965.65.

High-flying shares of Apple Inc, Tesla Inc and Zoom Video Communications Inc dropped between 1.7% and 8.5%, curbing the tech-heavy Nasdaq's advance.

Macy's Inc gained 1.9% after it reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss, as shoppers stuck indoors due to the pandemic bought more apparel using the department store chain's app and website.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.15-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.14-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 60 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 110 new highs and 22 new lows. (Reporting by Medha Singh and Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)