Wall Street flat as energy gains offset losses in chip stocks

 Wall Street flat as energy gains offset losses in chip stocks

By Amy Caren Daniel

(Reuters) - U.S. stocks were flat on Tuesday as the boost from energy sector and strong consumer confidence data helped offset losses in chipmakers and rate-sensitive shares ahead of an expected Federal Reserve interest rate hike.

Energy stocks jumped 0.89 percent, the most among the 11 major S&P sectors, as Brent oil hit a four-year high, boosted by imminent U.S. sanctions on Iranian exports, and OPEC and Russia's reluctance to raise output.

U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly rose in September, lifting it closer to levels last seen in 2000, the Conference Board said, underscoring strength in the labor market and overall economy.

That lifted the consumer discretionary index up 0.46 percent, making it the biggest boost to all three of Wall Street's main indexes.

"A lot of the noise around trade and anything else around politics really hasn't suppressed consumer confidence nearly to the degree that the other factors have boosted it," said Mike Dowdall, investment strategist for BMO Global Asset Management, in Chicago.

The Philadelphia semiconductor index dropped 1.73 percent, weighing on the technology sector, after brokerages Raymond James and KeyBanc cut their rating on a number of chipmakers.

Helping the market pull back from slight losses was Facebook. The stock was marginally lower after falling more than 2 percent earlier in the day on resignation of Instagram co-founders.

At 12:50 a.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 11.14 points, or 0.04 percent, at 26,573.19, the S&P 500 was up 0.37 points, or 0.01 percent, at 2,919.74 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 9.79 points, or 0.12 percent, at 8,003.04.

"There is a bit of range in trading as people get ready for the Fed meeting tomorrow," said Dowdall.

Financials, including bank stocks, gave up earlier gains to trade flat ahead of an expected rate hike by the Fed on Wednesday.

Utilities slid 1.47 percent and consumer staples 0.53 percent.

Intel fell 2.0 percent after Raymond James downgraded the stock.

Nike was up 0.8 percent ahead of its quarterly results, expected after the bell.

CenturyLink tumbled 7 percent after Chief Financial Officer Sunit Patel left the company in a surprise move to join T-Mobile to oversee its integration with Sprint.

T-Mobile was up 0.2 percent and Sprint 0.7 percent.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.08-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.26-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 31 new 52-week highs and eight new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 55 new highs and 39 new lows.

(Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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Updated Date: Sep 26, 2018 00:05:06 IST