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US STOCKS-Techs rise, helped by falling oil price

by Walker Simon

* Oil price tumble helps techs, airlines, retailers
* Citigroup shares fall on CFO warning on write-downs
* Financials weigh on the broader market (Updates to midafternoon)

NEW YORK, June 19 (Reuters) – The Nasdaq rose on Thursday as top technology companies and other exporters benefited from tumbling oil prices, seen as easing strains on global economic growth.

But the Dow and the S&P 500 indexes were little changed, restrained by an extended slide in financial companies that was triggered by Citgroup’s warning of write-downs in subprime mortgages.

U.S. oil prices Clc1 fell $4.13 a barrel to $132.53 a barrel on the belief that demand will take a hit after China raised gasoline and diesel prices by 18 percent, its first domestic fuel hike in eight months.

Shares of big manufacturers, including Boeing Co (BA.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and DuPont Co (DD.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), rose on the back of the lower oil prices. Retailers’ shares also benefited, with Costco Wholesale Corp (COST.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) up 0.7 percent. Both sectors were helped by the view that lower oil prices would take less of a toll on business and consumer spending.

Fuel-sensitive airlines soared, with the stock of several major carriers like Delta Air Lines (DAL.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) jumping at least 8 percent.

“Lower oil prices are good for the consumer; you could expect consumer spending to improve,” said William Rutherford, of Rutherford Investment Management LLC in Portland, Oregon. “It will also lighten the load on the global economy and that helps big manufacturers and technology companies whose foreign sales make up the bulk of their sales.”

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was up 14.00 points, or 0.12 percent, at 12,043.06. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index .SPX was up 1.35 points, or 0.10 percent, at 1,339.16. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was up 19.20 points, or 0.79 percent, at 2,448.91.

Among technology companies, Intel Corp (INTC.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the world’s No. 1 chipmaker, rose 2.3 percent to $22.78, and global software industry leader Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) rose 1.5 percent to $28.89, both in trading on Nasdaq.

Boeing shares rose 2.5 percent to $76.50 on the New York Stock Exchange, and DuPont climbed 1.8 percent to $47.43. Among retailers, Costco Wholesale rose 0.9 percent to $69.59, The S&P retail index .RLX rose gained 5 percent.

Airlines soared. Delta climbed 10 percent to $6.00, United Airlines owner UAL Corp (UAUA.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) jumped 8.0 percent to $7.08 and Continental Airlines (CAL.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) surged 8.7 percent to $14.60.

But Citigroup shares fell 4.2 percent to $19.54, making it one of the top drags on the S&P 500. Also weighing on the index were shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), down 3.9 percent at $37.22, and Bank of America (BAC.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), whose stock fell more than 3.8 percent to $27.30

Citigroup Chief Financial Officer Gary Crittenden told investors on a Deutsche Bank Securities investor conference call that the largest U.S. bank could have substantial write-downs in the second quarter, triggering a drop in Citigroup shares of nearly 4 percent.

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