US STOCKS-S&P 500, Nasdaq clinch new highs on hopes coronavirus is peaking

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* Sprint, T Mobile jump as merger wins approval

* Under Armour slumps after surprise profit drop forecast

* Fed Chair Powell says U.S. economy in a good place

* Indexes up: Dow 0.07%, S&P 0.39%, Nasdaq 0.54% (Updates to early afternoon)

By Medha Singh

Feb 11 (Reuters) – The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq indexes scaled new highs on Tuesday as investors took heart from remarks by a top Chinese health adviser that the coronavirus outbreak may be peaking.

After more than 1,000 deaths and weeks of uncertainty that roiled global financial markets, China’s foremost medical adviser on the epidemic said infections may be over by April.

However, the hit to the world’s second-largest economy was still unclear as companies struggled to get back to work after an extended holiday.

“The consensus seems to be that we are seeing the worst of the coronavirus impact right now but from here it is going to get better,” said John Zaller, chief investment officer of MAI Capital Management in Cleveland.

“Unless that changes, the markets will still be okay with a short-term blip in terms of economic and earnings growth.”

The main U.S. stock indexes have reclaimed record highs as a batch of encouraging domestic economic data, largely upbeat corporate earnings and recent stimulus measures from China helped investors look past fears about the coronavirus.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told Congress that the U.S. economy is in a good place, even as he cited the potential threat from the epidemic in China.

The communication services index was among the only two major S&P sectors in the red. Cyclical sectors such as technology and consumer discretionary provided the biggest boosts to the benchmark index.

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