US STOCKS-Wall Street rises as Big Tech, financials gain

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* Energy stocks hit highest since Jan 2020

* Southwest (LUV) falls on canceling several flights

* Big banks set to start reporting results from Wednesday

* Indexes up: Dow 0.49%, S&P 0.42%, Nasdaq 0.49% (Adds comments, updates prices to early afternoon)

By Shreyashi Sanyal and Devik Jain

Oct 11 (Reuters) - U.S. stock indexes rose on Monday as growth and financial stocks gained, shrugging off inflation worries in the run up to third-quarter earnings reports from later this week.

Mega-caps Apple Inc (AAPL), Tesla Inc (TSLA) and Microsoft Corp (MSFT) rose between 0.6% and 1%, with nine of the 11 major S&P 500 sector indexes trading higher.

"Investors see the S&P 500 substantially off its all-time high and there's no headline to scare them away from buying, so they're buying like they usually do," said Mike Zigmont, head of research and trading at Harvest Volatility Management in New York.

"Today's bullishness is more of a return to the investor habits that were established after the pandemic sell-off."

The S&P 500 financial sector index rose 0.7%, while banks added 0.6% ahead of earnings reports from JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM) on Wednesday and Bank of America Corp (BAC), Morgan Stanley (MS) and Citigroup Inc (C) on Thursday. Goldman Sachs (GS) will report results on Friday.

Analysts expect a 29.6% year-over-year increase in profit for S&P 500 companies in the third quarter, according to IBES data from Refinitiv as of Friday, down from 96.3% growth in the second quarter.

"At the beginning of the year, there was a consensus that inflation was going to be transitory, it's harder to just keep saying that now as we're still seeing supply chain log jams that have not eased up," said Max Gokhman, chief investment officer at AlphaTrAI.

"The margins are so stretched now for the companies there's a realistic concern that companies will either not be able to beat their earnings expectations or will have to guide down for the next quarter."

Markets were subdued earlier in the day after U.S. oil rose nearly 3% to a seven-year high, feeding into fears of higher inflation.

The surging oil prices, however, pushed up the S&P 500 energy sector by 1.2% to its highest since January 2020, helping the index recover all its pandemic losses.

At 11:56 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 171.61 points, or 0.49%, at 34,917.86, the S&P 500 was up 18.57 points, or 0.42%, at 4,409.91 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 72.05 points, or 0.49%, at 14,651.59.

Wall Street's main indexes ended the previous week higher, with investors still expecting the Federal Reserve to begin tapering asset purchases later this year.

After data last week showed weaker jobs growth than expected in September, focus would be on inflation and retail sales numbers this week, as well as minutes of the Fed's last meeting that could confirm that a November tapering was discussed.

Among individual stocks, Southwest Airlines Co (LUV) slipped 1.3% on a report that it canceled at least 30% of its scheduled flights on Sunday.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.50-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.59-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 40 new 52-week highs and five new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 76 new highs and 89 new lows.

U.S. bond markets were shut on Monday on account of a federal holiday.

(Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Aditya Soni)

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