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US STOCKS-Wall St climbs on boost from tech stocks

·3 min read
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(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window.) 

  * Bitcoin bounce after weekend selling lifts crypto stocks 

  * Fed's preferred inflation gauge set for Thursday 

  * Cabot, Cimarex to merge, create $17 bln oil & gas producer 

  * Indexes: Dow 0.48%, S&P 0.77%, Nasdaq 1.10% (Adds comment, details; updates prices) 

  By Medha Singh and Shashank Nayar 

  May 24 (Reuters) - Wall Street's main indexes gained on Monday, with the Nasdaq up about 1%, as investors flocked to lagging technology shares, while gearing up for key inflation readings later this week. 

  Risk sentiment also improved with cryptocurrencies clawing back ground after a bout of weekend selling fueled by further signs of a gathering Chinese crackdown on the emerging sector. 

  Crypto-exchange operator Coinbase Global and miners Riot Blockchain and Marathon Digital Holdings gained between 1% and 3.8%. 

  Technology added 1.4%, leading sectoral gains, with Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and Nvidia providing the biggest boost to the benchmark S&P 500. Tech is among the worst-performing S&P sectors this month. 

  Equity markets have been rocked in recent weeks as investors juggled between strong economic data and fears that supply side constraints could prompt a prolonged period of higher prices and force the Federal Reserve to pare back its crisis era support. 

  "We are looking at a good positive start to the week as equity valuations are back to a reasonable level and are easily justified which is helping remove a good chunk of speculative trade," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York. 

  "We went through a period of time when we were out of tech and into value stocks, while right now we see a lot of those trades come back into tech." 

  After falling as much as 4.3% from its May 7 record high, the S&P 500 is now only 1.3% off that level as investors picked up technology stocks that were beaten down the most on rate hike fears. 

  The U.S. personal consumption data on Thursday, the Fed's preferred inflation measure, will be the centerpiece of the week. 

  At 9:58 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 165.59 points, or 0.48%, at 34,373.43 and the S&P 500 was up 31.85 points, or 0.77%, at 4,187.71. The Nasdaq Composite was up 148.75 points, or 1.10%, at 13,619.74. 

  Cabot Oil & Gas Corp and Cimarex Energy Co agreed to merge to form a U.S. oil and gas producer with an enterprise value of about $17 billion, the latest deal in a sector rebounding from one of its worst downturns. 

  Shares of Cabot and Cimarex fell 7.3% and 8%, while the broader energy index was largely flat. 

  Construction materials supplier Martin Marietta Materials Inc said it would buy HeidelbergCement AG's assets in California and Arizona for $2.3 billion. Martin Marietta's shares rose 1.3%. 

  Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.82-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.71-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq. 

  The S&P index recorded 17 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 57 new highs and 15 new lows. (Reporting by Medha Singh and Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)