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US STOCKS-Wall St gains on stimulus cues, U.S.-China trade progress

By Ambar Warrick and Medha Singh

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* China cuts interest rate for 2nd month in a row

* U.S. excludes Chinese goods from existing tariffs

* Netflix drags after Evercore ISI comments

* Dow rises 0.17%, S&P up 0.11%, Nasdaq off 0.16%
(Adds comment, details; updates prices)

By Ambar Warrick and Medha Singh

Sept 20 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks ticked higher on Friday, as
cues of easing monetary policy around the globe and signs of
further co-operation on Sino-U.S. trade talks kept the S&P 500
within 1% of a record high.

China cut its new one-year benchmark lending rate for the
second month in a row, days after the Federal Reserve and the
European Central Bank reduced borrowing costs and left the door
open for further monetary stimulus.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were set to end the
week little changed after a rough start, sparked by attacks on
Saudi oil facilities. Hopes of additional stimulus calmed
investor nerves later in the week.

"Even though the Fed has cut rates, the economy actually
looks pretty good," said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at
Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.

"The consumer is strong, the numbers that we've seen from a
lot of economic data look good. Next week would be the end of
the quarter, so we'll probably see a little bit of buying."

Markets are likely to show some volatility later in the
session due to "quadruple witching," where investors unwind
positions in futures and options contracts before they expire.

Investors are hopeful of a de-escalation in U.S.-China trade
tensions as the two sides lay the groundwork for negotiations in
October, following tariff concessions last week.

On Thursday, the U.S. Trade Representative's office said
dozens more Chinese products would be excluded from existing
tariffs, including dog collars, some printed circuit boards used
in computers, certain auto parts and Christmas tree lights.

The S&P 500 healthcare index, which has been the
worst performing S&P sector this year, clocked the biggest gains
among the 11 major sectors.

Merck & Co gained 1.5% as the company's drugs
Pifeltro and Delstrigo receive FDA approval for use in certain
adult patients with HIV-1 who are "virally suppressed".

At 11:35 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
was up 45.44 points, or 0.17%, at 27,140.23, the S&P 500
was up 3.35 points, or 0.11%, at 3,010.14.

The Nasdaq Composite was down 12.70 points, or
0.16%, at 8,170.18.

Netflix Inc slipped 5.6% to a nine-month low after
Evercore ISI said recent data checks painted an uncertain
picture of the streaming service provider's international
subscriber growth.

It was the biggest drag on the Nasdaq and pulled the
S&P communication services sector down 0.23%.

Roku Inc tumbled 14.5% after Pivotal Research
started coverage of its shares with a "sell" rating.

Chipmaker Xilinx Inc dropped 5.9% as Chief
Financial Officer Lorenzo Flores said he would step down,
prompting Bank of America Merrill to downgrade its stock to

Boeing Co fell 0.8% as the Federal Aviation
Administration chief said a series of steps needed to be
completed before the 737 MAX could return to service.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.90-to-1 ratio
on the NYSE and by a 1.51-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 18 new 52-week highs and no new low,
while the Nasdaq recorded 25 new highs and 26 new lows.
(Reporting by Ambar Warrick and Medha Singh in Bengaluru;
Editing by Anil D'Silva)