US STOCKS-Wall St buoyed by Apple; trade concerns, mixed PMI cap gains

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US STOCKS-Wall St buoyed by Apple; trade concerns, mixed PMI cap gains

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* Sept flash services jobs shrink for the first time in 9-1/2 yrs

* Manufacturing PMI 51.0 vs 50.3 for Aug

* Apple gains on tariff exemptions

* Facebook among top drags on S&P 500

* Indexes up: Dow 0.10%, S&P 0.10%, Nasdaq 0.10% (Updates to early afternoon)

By Medha Singh and Ambar Warrick

Sept 23 (Reuters) – Apple Inc boosted the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq on Monday, even as gains were limited by mixed economic cues in the face of a prolonged U.S.-China trade war.

Apple Inc rose 0.5% after U.S. trade regulators approved 10 out of 15 requests for tariff exemptions by the iPhone maker.

Micron Technology Inc, which supplies components to Apple, rose about 1.9%. The chipmaker is set to post its fourth quarter results on Thursday.

Meanwhile, U.S. employment in the services sector shrank for the first time in nine-and-a-half years in September, IHS Markit’s Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) showed on Monday. At 50.9, the services sector PMI was below expectations of 51.3.

The data also showed manufacturing activity rose in September, topping expectations.

Earlier in the day, a survey showed manufacturing recession had deepened in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy.

“We had some macro news today, but nothing that would change the sentiment in the market, which is tied to trade,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

Investors have been cautious about progress in Sino-U.S. trade talks after a Chinese agriculture delegation canceled a visit to Montana. The news on Friday led to Wall Street’s main indexes posting their worst session in about two weeks.

“The latest negative news out of trade talks last week has brought a lot of uncertainty in the market. We are stuck in a trading range and the feeling is one of global disparity,” Cardillo said.

The so-called defensive sectors – consumer staples and real estate – were the top gainers among six of the 11 major S&P sectors trading higher.

Other domestic economic reports due in the final week of the third quarter include core personal consumption data, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge, a final reading on second-quarter GDP data and the Conference Board’s consumer confidence reading for September.

At 12:52 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 25.72 points, or 0.10%, at 26,960.79, the S&P 500 was up 3.09 points, or 0.10%, at 2,995.16. The Nasdaq Composite was up 7.92 points, or 0.10%, at 8,125.59.

Juniper Networks Inc rose 2.0% as Needham upgraded the network gear maker’s stock to “buy”.

Boeing edged lower after a Reuters report that European antitrust regulators were set to investigate the plane maker’s $4.75 billion bid for the commercial aircraft arm of Brazil-based Embraer SA.

Additionally, the chief of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is set to detail progress on the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to international air regulators.

Social network Facebook Inc fell 1.8% and was among the biggest drags on the S&P 500.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.30-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.16-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 19 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 36 new highs and 40 new lows. (Reporting by Ambar Warrick and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Shounak Dasgupta)