US STOCKS-Wall Street hits more than two-week high on energy, tech gains

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* Al eyes on August CPI report on Tuesday

* Bristol Myers rises on FDA approval for psoriasis drug

* Twitter says Musk’s latest attempt to renege deal invalid

* Indexes up: Dow 0.67%, S&P 0.84%, Nasdaq 0.83% (Updates to open)

By Devik Jain and Ankika Biswas

Sept 12 (Reuters) – Energy and technology shares helped drive U.S. stocks to their highest in more than two weeks on Monday ahead of a crucial inflation reading this week that could determine the pace of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

All of the S&P 500 sectoral indexes were up in early trading, led by a 2% jump in energy shares. Oil prices rose as supply concerns mounted amidst uncertainty over Iranian nuclear talks.

Heavyweight Amazon.com, Tesla Inc and Apple Inc added between 1.2% and 2.1%, providing the biggest boost to S&P 500 and the Nasdaq .

The three major U.S. stock indexes rallied sharply last week, as investors took advantage of a sharp drop in stock prices since mid-August that was triggered by concerns over soaring inflation and the impact of tighter monetary policy to curb it.

All eyes are on consumer prices data on Tuesday for any signs that price pressures may be easing. Headline inflation is expected to rise at an 8.1% pace over the year in August, compared with 8.5% in July.

Core CPI, which strips out volatile factors such as energy and food, is expected to increase to 6.1% from 5.9% in the previous month. A recent retreat in commodity prices, especially oil, has boosted hopes that the worst of price pressures is over.

A soft number might revive speculation the Fed will only hike by 50 basis points this month, though it would likely have to be very weak to have a real impact on the hawkish stance taken by most policymakers recently.

Money markets are pricing in an 89% chance of a third straight 75 basis point increase by the U.S. central bank on Sept. 21.

“Investors expect the CPI data to show a continued decline in inflationary reading, which would be encouraging to investors, since the FOMC meeting occurs only a week later,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research in New York.

“Our economists are expecting a 50-basis-point hike at the September meeting though I think the chances of a 75-bps hike are equally possible.”

At 9:51 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 216.93 points, or 0.67%, at 32,368.64, the S&P 500 was up 34.33 points, or 0.84%, at 4,101.69, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 100.13 points, or 0.83%, at 12,212.44, their highest levels since August 26.

Also aiding sentiment, Ukrainian forces swept further across territory seized from fleeing Russian troops on Monday, as Moscow grappled with the consequences of the collapse of its occupation force in northeastern Ukraine.

“With Ukraine now putting Russia on the defense and taking over many of the territory that had been lost, that is encouraging to global investors because it implies that maybe some ceasefire will occur more quickly than earlier anticipated,” Stovall added.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co gained 6.2% after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the company’s oral treatment for adults with plaque psoriasis.

Shares of Amgen, which makes psoriasis drug Otezla, fell 3.4%.

Carvana Co jumped 11.7% as Piper Sandler upgraded the online used-car seller’s stock to “overweight” from “neutral”, saying it is grossly undervalued.

Twitter Inc slipped 1% after the social media company said it did not breach any agreement for paying a whistleblower and that Elon Musk’s attempt to terminate his $44 billion deal was invalid.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 5.21-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 2.11-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded three new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 19 new highs and 18 new lows. (Reporting by Devik Jain and Ankika Biswas in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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