US STOCKS-Wall St gains on upbeat earnings, strong economic data

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* U.S. adds China’s Huawei to trade blacklist

* Walmart gains after comp sales beat

* Cisco rises on upbeat sales forecast

* Yields rise, lift interest-rate sensitive banks

* Indexes up: Dow 0.69%, S&P 0.76%, Nasdaq 0.73% (Updates to open)

By Amy Caren Daniel

May 16 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks rose on Thursday as upbeat earnings from Walmart and Cisco, and robust domestic economic data helped investors overlook worries about the ongoing trade war between the United States and China.

Walmart Inc rose 3.3% after it reported its best first-quarter same-store sales growth in nine years. The big box retailer also said prices for shoppers will rise due to higher tariffs on Chinese imports.

Fellow Dow component Cisco Systems Inc gained 5.2% on an upbeat sales forecast and after the network gear maker said minimal sales exposure to China and changes to its supply chains have helped cushion the impact from trade dispute.

“Strong results from Cisco will spillover to tech names, which are likely to be beneficiaries from the earnings,” said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.

“Economic strength will help investors look past any kind of issues and I do not expect any kind of sharp pull backs.”

The Commerce Department said U.S. homebuilding increased more than expected in April, suggesting declining mortgage rates were starting to provide some support to the struggling housing market.

Another report showed the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, pointing to sustained labor market strength that should underpin the economy as growth slows.

Strong economic data lifted U.S. Treasury yields and helped the interest rate sensitive banking sector rise 1.30%. The broader financial sector gained 1.4%, the most among the S&P sectors.

Investors have also been closely monitoring trade-related news, which has been mixed so far. Washington said it was adding Huawei Technologies Co to its “Entity List”, in a move that bans it from acquiring components and technology from U.S. firms without prior approval.

Trade concerns have dented a rally in stocks this year and has put the benchmark index about 3% below its all-time high that it hit just two-weeks ago.

However, U.S. stock indexes posted gains in the previous two sessions on hopes the protracted trade dispute that has threatened global growth could be resolved, as the two sides were expected to resume talks in Beijing soon.

At 9:51 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 176.96 points, or 0.69%, at 25,824.98. The S&P 500 was up 21.66 points, or 0.76%, at 2,872.62 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 57.46 points, or 0.73%, at 7,879.61.

The Philadelphia Semiconductor index fell 1.61%, dragged down by losses in Huawei suppliers Qualcomm Inc and Broadcom Inc, Xilinx Inc, Skyworks Solutions Inc.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 3.08-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 2.01-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 25 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 45 new highs and 17 new lows. (Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Arun Koyyur)

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