US STOCKS-Wall Street steadies as tech stocks gain on limited trade deal

Shreyashi Sanyal

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* Apple leads gains among tech stocks

* U.S.-China strike Phase One trade deal

* Indexes up: Dow 0.05%, S&P 500 0.08%, Nasdaq 0.30% (Adds comments, updates to early afternoon)

Dec 13 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks gained ground in early afternoon trading on Friday after a tumultuous morning, as a limited trade deal between the United States and China paved the way for a rise in technology shares.

Stocks swung between gains and losses, as investors were confused about signs of progress despite comments from both sides that they had arrived at an initial agreement.

The S&P 500 tech sector rose 0.8%, with a 1.2% gain in shares of Apple Inc leading advancers. The sector is already the best performer this year with its 44% surge.

Wall Street's main indexes hit fresh record highs earlier in the session as Beijing said it had agreed on the context of a trade pact with Washington, but drifted lower after comments that a deal had not yet been formally signed.

"The broadest takeaway is that this clearly represents a positive step forward and there is no longer an escalation in the process," said Bill Northey, senior investment director at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Helena, Montana.

"But we are still in a scenario where the underlying details are yet to be revealed and until there is ink to paper, there will be some degree of uncertainty."

A positive tone on trade, a dovish Federal Reserve and strong domestic economic data have fueled a recent Wall Street rally, with the benchmark S&P 500 up 26% so far in 2019 and on track for its best annual performance in six years.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 15.05 points, or 0.05%, at 28,147.10, the S&P 500 was up 2.53 points, or 0.08%, at 3,171.10 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 26.28 points, or 0.30%, at 8,743.60.

U.S. investors also missed out on a global rally fueled by a landslide victory for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that paves the way for an orderly Brexit and lifts some of the fog on the global economic horizon.

Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives committee approved charges of abuse of power and obstruction against President Donald Trump, making it almost certain he will become the third American president in history to be impeached.

Broadcom Inc dropped 4% as analysts were wary of the chipmaker's revenue forecast for 2020.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.04-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.20-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 73 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 99 new highs and 38 new lows. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Maju Samuel)