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* Walgreens rises after forecast raise
* U.S. private payrolls increase in March
* Three main indexes headed for quarterly gains
* Apple rises as UBS upgrades to 'buy'
* Indexes up: Dow 0.1%, S&P 0.8%, Nasdaq 2%
March 31 (Reuters) - Technology shares led the S&P 500 to a
record high and the three major Wall Street indexes were set to
wrap up their fourth straight quarterly gain on Wednesday, with
investors awaiting details on President Joe Biden's massive
The benchmark index was nearing 4,000 points for the first
time as bets on strong economic rebound helped markets ride out
a quarter that saw a retail trading frenzy, inflation worries, a
spike in Treasury yields and a U.S. hedge fund going bust.
The technology-heavy Nasdaq's 3% gain, however, has lagged
the S&P 500's 6% rise and the Dow 8% addition this quarter as
investors swapped growth-oriented stocks with underpriced shares
deemed to benefit most from a full economic reopening.
"What you saw in the quarter to put a bow around it was an
outperformance of the economically-sensitive and
underperformance of all the things that really excelled during
the pandemic," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at
National Securities in New York.
"We're less concerned about inflation and more convinced
that this is a manifestation of better economic activity."
The $3 trillion-$4 trillion infrastructure package will
target traditional projects like roads and bridges alongside
investments in the electric vehicle market.
The size and scale of the proposal, as well as the question
of how it would be paid for is likely to set the stage for the
next partisan clash in Congress.
Last week, the Dow hit a record closing high, thanks to the
recent $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus and vaccine rollouts.
The Nasdaq jumped more than 1.5% on Wednesday, but the index
is about 6% off its all-time peak as high-flying tech names have
been hit by a surge in U.S. 10-year bond yields.
At 11:34 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
rose 40.90 points, or 0.12%, to 33,107.86, and the S&P 500
gained 33.21 points, or 0.84%, to 3,991.76 and the Nasdaq
Composite gained 257.88 points, or 1.98%, to 13,303.27.
Technology sector jumped 2%, while consumer
discretionary and communication services
added about 1% each. Financials and energy
stocks dropped in a reversal of this quarter's trend.
"Today's market is back to technology and away from the
industrial economic reopening and certainly infrastructure
stocks that were in focus yesterday," said Paul Nolte, portfolio
manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.
"It's very much a binary market - either technology or
economic reopening trade - depending on the news of the day and
that's really been the theme over the last 3-4 weeks."
Apple Inc rose 2.8% after brokerage UBS upgraded
the stock to "buy" on stable long-term demand for iPhones with
better authorized service providers.
Meanwhile, U.S. private employers boosted hiring in March as
more Americans got vaccinated against COVID-19. The payroll
report was in line with the recent signs of improvement in the
labor market and comes ahead of a more comprehensive monthly
jobs report on Friday.
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc advanced 5% after
raising its 2021 profit forecast on higher sales at its U.S.
retail pharmacy stores.
Chewy Inc jumped 7.2% as brokerages raised their
price targets on the stock after the online pet product retailer
posted fourth-quarter profit from year-ago loss.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.7-to-1 ratio
on the NYSE and by a 2-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P 500 posted 26 new 52-week highs and no new low,
while the Nasdaq recorded 66 new highs and 33 new lows.
(Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb
Chakrabarty, Sriraj Kalluvila and Arun Koyyur)