US STOCKS-Wall St extends rally as tech shares lead

Wed May 15, 2013 12:00pm EDT
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* Upward momentum persists, Internet shares among day's gainers

* Deere shares drop after outlook, drags on S&P 500

* Empire State Index contracts, PPI shows weak inflation pressure

* Dow up 0.3 pct, S&P 500 up 0.4 pct, Nasdaq up 0.3 pct

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, May 15 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rose for a fourth straight day on Wednesday as tech shares gained and offset some weak economic data.

Equities have rallied in recent weeks, with both the Dow and S&P 500 hitting all-time highs as investors expect central bank stimulus measures will keep supporting market gains.

Such policies have helped spur advances of about 15 percent in major indexes this year despite data showing signs of slowing growth. Activity in New York state's manufacturing sector unexpectedly contracted in May, falling to minus 1.43 from 3.05, below expectations for an increase to 4. Another report showed that U.S. industrial production fell 0.5 percent in April, more than expected.

"It's disconcerting that the data was so much lower than what we were looking for, but there's no reason for investors to sell," said Michael Binger, senior portfolio manager at Gradient Investments in Minneapolis. "The main things driving the market - the Fed, earnings, consumer confidence - are holding up, and people put money in the market on any down day. I still see a lot of value."   Continued...