May 19- U. S. stocks advanced on Friday, driven by Apple, as a sense of calm prevailed over Wall Street in a week that was dominated by political uncertainty surrounding Donald Trump’s presidency. Reports later alleged Trump had asked Comey to end an…
* Deere gains on profit jump, lifts Caterpillar
* Campbell Soup down on sales warning
* Indexes up: Dow 0.26 pct, S&P 0.39 pct, Nasdaq 0.54 pct (Updates to open)
May 19 (Reuters) – U. S. stocks advanced on Friday, driven by Apple, as a sense of calm prevailed over Wall Street in a week that was dominated by political uncertainty surrounding Donald Trump’s presidency.
Still, the indexes are on track for their worst weekly declines since mid-April after Trump unexpectedly fired FBI Director James Comey. Reports later alleged Trump had asked Comey to end an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s ties with Russia.
Investors fear that the political uproar in Washington could hinder Trump from pursuing his promise of fiscal stimulus, a key driver for Wall Street’s record-setting run.
“The market is looking to stabilize as no new political news hit this morning headlines, suggesting that investors are willing to play out the political turmoil without pushing the panic switch, ” Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial wrote in a note.
Apple was up 0.6 percent and was the top stock on all three major Wall Street indexes. Shares of the most valuable U. S.-listed company have been recovering after their biggest one-day drop in more than a year on Wednesday.
At 9: 39 a.m. ET (1339 GMT) , the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 53.44 points, or 0.26 percent, at 20,716.46, the S&P 500 was up 9.23 points, or 0.39 percent, at 2,374.95 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 32.44 points, or 0.54 percent, at 6,087.57.
Nine of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher. Technology was in the lead with a 0.58 percent increase, followed by a 0.51 percent rise in financials.
Shares of Deere & Co rose 6.5 percent to $120.07 after the farm and construction equipment maker reported a 62 percent jump in quarterly profit. Caterpillar was up 1.7 percent.
Campbell Soup slid 2 percent to $55.94 after the packaged foods company warned that its full-year sales could decline.
Dow member Wal-Mart was up 1.3 percent at $78.55 after BMO upgraded the big-box retailer’s stock to “market perform” from “underperform”.
Autodesk soared 14.7 percent to $109.95 after the software maker reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,757 to 781. On the Nasdaq, 1,508 issues rose and 758 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed eight new 52-week highs and five new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 31 new highs and 20 new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)