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* Indexes: Dow 0.16 pct, S&P 0.38 pct, Nasdaq 1.09 pct
* Amazon, retailers gain on strong holiday sales report
* Govt shutdown to last until agreement on border wall-Trump (Updates to open)
By Medha Singh
Dec 26 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose modestly on Wednesday,boosted by technology shares and an Amazon-led jump inretailers, helping pull the S&P 500 from the brink of bearmarket territory following punishing few sessions.
The technology sector .SPLRCT , whose 9.2 percent slump inthe past four sessions was the steepest among the 11 major S&Psectors, rose 1.15 percent.
Retailers gained, with the S&P 500 retailers sub-index .SPXRT jumping 1.75 percent, after a Mastercard report showedU.S. holiday sales were the strongest in six years. Amazon.comInc AMZN.O rose 2.22 percent after reporting a"record-breaking" season. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N1YV2EZ
Other members of the FANG group, Facebook IncFB.O ,Netflix IncNFLX.O and Alphabet IncGOOGL.O , which has alsobeen under pressure recently, rose between 0.4 percent and 2.8percent.
"We expect a relief rally that may continue for a few daysas end of the quarter window dressing ups the chances of bargainhunting," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at SpartanCapital Securities in New York.
At 10:04 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 35.68 points, or 0.16 percent, at 21,827.88, a day afterthe Christmas holiday.
The S&P 500 .SPX was up 9.05 points, or 0.38 percent, at2,360.15 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 67.39 points,or 1.09 percent, at 6,260.30.
But after rising more than 1 percent shortly after thestart, the gains started fading.
The S&P has lost 7.7 percent in the past four sessions,ending Monday at a 20-month low and 19.8 percent below itsall-time closing high, just shy of the 20-percent threshold thatcommonly defines a bear market. Roughly three-fourths of the S&P500 stocks are already in the bear market territory.
The Dow is off 18.9 percent from its closing high, while theNasdaq is already in bear market along with the Dow JonesTransport Average and the small-cap stocks.
"The 'Bear Grip' is feeding on itself as Trump continues tospread uneasiness," said Cardillo.
President Donald Trump said on Tuesday partial shutdown ofthe U.S. federal government, which has entered the fifth day, will last until his demand for funds to build a wall on theU.S.-Mexico border is met. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N1YU063
The political impasse over the funding bill and the recentunexpected departure of the U.S. defense chief have added toinvestor worries that include U.S.-China trade tensions andother geopolitical events crimping global growth and corporateprofit.
Trump has said the Federal Reserve is the "only problem" forthe U.S. economy, repeatedly criticizing the central bank forraising interest rates. He hit out at the Fed again on Tuesday,but expressed confidence in Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N1YU0OT
Mnuchin on Monday held a call with U.S. regulators todiscuss plunging U.S. stock markets. The call did more to rattlemarkets than to assure them and all three major U.S. stockindexes ended down more than 2 percent on the day.
The S&P and the Dow have fallen about 12 percent for theyear, while the Nasdaq has shed 10 percent, with just four moretrading sessions left to wrap up the year.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.45-to-1 ratioon the NYSE and a 2.15-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded no new 52-week highs and 106 newlows, while the Nasdaq recorded three new highs and 207 newlows. (Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by AnilD'Silva) ((Medha.Singh@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1646 223 8780,outside U.S. +91 80 6749 1130; Reuters Messaging:firstname.lastname@example.org))
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