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Wall Street climbs as North Korea tension eases

By Sruthi Shankar

By Sruthi Shankar

(Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite rose more than 1 percent in late morning trading on Monday as investors returned to riskier assets after tensions in the Korean peninsula eased.

The gains were broad-based, with the S&P financial sector <.SPSY> rising 1.40 percent and the technology index <.SPLRCT> 1.34 percent, putting the S&P index on track for its biggest single-day percentage gain in nearly four months.

The Nasdaq was also on course to register its biggest one-day percentage gain in about two months. Technology heavyweights including Facebook <FB.O> and Alphabet <GOOGL.O> were among the biggest boosts to the Nasdaq.

The boost to investor sentiment comes after key U.S. officials on Sunday played down the risk of an imminent war with North Korea, which had wiped out nearly $1 trillion from global equity markets last week.

"It seems like tensions may have de-escalated between North Korea and the United States that had been weighing on the markets last week", said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.

Safe-haven gold, which hit a two-month high last week, dropped by half a percent, under pressure from a strengthening dollar. [GOL/]

"We're going to get some more information on retailers this week. So that is going to return to driving the markets", Forrest said.

Retail giants Wal-Mart <WMT.N> and Target <TGT.N> are scheduled to report earnings this week.

At 11:04 a.m. ET (1504 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> was up 146.5 points, or 0.67 percent, at 22,004.82, the S&P 500 <.SPX> was up 24.48 points, or 1.00 percent, at 2,465.80.

The Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> was up 70.88 points, or 1.13 percent, at 6,327.44.

Among stocks, Tesla <TSLA.O> rose 1.74 percent after two brokerages raised their price targets on the stock, citing the potential success of the company's Model 3 sedan.

JD.com <JD.O>, China's second-largest e-commerce firm, was off 3.95 percent after reporting a bigger loss due to higher marketing costs.

Alibaba <BABA.N> was up about 1.49 percent after Dan Loeb's Third Point bought 4.5 million shares in the Chinese e-commerce giant.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,396 to 416. On the Nasdaq, 2,102 issues rose and 676 fell.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)