* Fed sees no risks to change planned pace of rate hikes
* Blue Buffalo soars after General Mills' $8 bln buyout
* Hewlett Packard Enterprise hits record high on results
* Indexes up: Dow 0.58 pct, S&P 0.8 pct, Nasdaq 0.85 pct
* Dow, S&P still down for the week; Nasdaq edges higher
(Updates to early afternoon)
By Sruthi Shankar
Feb 23 (Reuters) - Wall Street's main indexes rose on
Friday, with gains in technology stocks helping claw back some
of the week's losses, after the Federal Reserve calmed
investors' nerves by saying interest rate hikes would continue
as planned this year.
Looking past the recent stock market sell-off and concerns
about inflation, the Fed said it expected economic growth to
remain steady and that it saw no serious risks on the horizon
that might pause its planned pace of rate hikes.
Investors are expecting the Fed to raise rates three times
this year, beginning with its next meeting in March, the first
under new Chair Jerome Powell.
"Overall it was pretty dovish. Yes, he said we're going to
have to raise rates, but we are going to have to do that
gradually," said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD
Ameritrade in Chicago.
Powell's first public outing will be next week, when he will
testify separately before the House and Senate committees.
"There is a potential for volatility next week in Powell's
Q&A, as well as economic data. The chances of the market getting
surprises are better than average," said Tom Essaye, founder of
investment research firm Sevens Report.
At 12:43 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
rose 0.58 percent to 25,108.06 and the S&P 500 was up 0.8
percent at 2,725.59. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.85
percent to 7,271.46.
While the Dow and the S&P are still on track to post small
losses for the week, the Nasdaq is set for its second straight
week of gains.
The Fed comments helped U.S. Treasury 10-year note yields
ease to 2.8678 percent, from a high of 2.9570
percent it hit on Wednesday when the Fed minutes showed
policymakers believed inflation would perk up.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise and HP Inc were
among the biggest gainers on the S&P 500, rising 9.8 percent and
5.2 percent, respectively.
The two companies created from the split of Hewlett Packard
Co in 2015, reported strong results and HPE also announced a
plan to return $7 billion to shareholders.
"HPE is a stock that you don't normally consider a leader,
but those earnings were really impressive," said Kinahan.
The S&P technology index rose 1.3 percent, with
chipmakers among the major gainers.
Intel was up 3.5 percent and Micron gained
nearly 5 percent, helping the Philadelphia semiconductor index
up 1.02 percent.
Blue Buffalo Pet Products jumped 17 percent after
General Mills said it would buy the natural pet food
maker for $8 billion. General Mills was the biggest loser on S&P
500, falling about 3.7 percent.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,965
to 820. On the Nasdaq, 1,638 issues rose and 1,074 fell.
(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil
D'Silva and Savio D'Souza)
First Published: 2018-02-23 14:44:28
Updated 2018-02-23 20:15:44
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