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US: Wall St near record highs as oil, tech stocks lift

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[NEW YORK] US stocks traded near record highs on Tuesday morning as a rise in technology stocks added to the lift from steadying oil prices.

Oil edged further above US$45 on estimates of a drop in US inventories and speculation of producer action to freeze output.

"Today, it seems like whatever oil does, equities will follow," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.

The S&P 500 index's technology index rose 0.17 per cent, helped by gains in Cisco, which rose 0.7 per cent after Citigroup raised its price target. The stock gave the biggest boost to the S&P and the Nasdaq.

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Microchip Tech soared 9.4 per cent to US$61.980 after the company's first-quarter revenue beat analysts' estimate.

A forecast-beating payrolls report on Friday has helped bring back some of the risk-on mode in the markets. Safe havens gold and the Japanese yen were lower on Tuesday.

At 9:42 am ET (1342 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 29.2 points, or 0.16 per cent, at 18,558.49.

The S&P 500 was up 2.26 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 2,183.15, just 2 points shy of its 2,185.44 record high.

The Nasdaq Composite was up 9.67 points, or 0.19 per cent, at 5,222.81.

Seven of the 10 major S&P 500 indexes were higher, led by a 0.28 per cent rise in the materials sector.

Valeant jumped 11.67 per cent after the company maintained its full-year forecast and said it was evaluating alternatives for its non-core business and geographies.

Endo International surged 10.5 per cent to $20.12 after the drugmaker's second-quarter revenue and profit beat estimates. The stock was the top percentage gainer among S&P 500 companies.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,583 to 1,039. On the Nasdaq, 1,393 issues rose and 908 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 18 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 41 new highs and eight new lows.