Wall Street slips as bank, health stocks weigh

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Wall Street slips as bank, health stocks weigh

The Dow and S&P 500 dipped on Friday, led by bank and healthcare stocks, as investors booked profits after a record-setting few days, while gains in Kraft Heinz help limit losses on the Nasdaq.

Since President Donald Trump vowed last week to announce a tax reform in the coming weeks, Wall Street has inched up to record intraday and closing highs in successive days in a rally where financials, mainly banks, outperformed other sectors.

But, with a strong fourth-quarter earnings season mostly complete, many investors say they need concrete signs of progress from Trump on his policy plans to justify more gains.

“While the markets have continued to melt up a little in the past two weeks, I’m not seeing depth, volume or conviction of the market that is looking to break out higher,” said Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM US LLP.

“If anything I think we are setting up for a period of profit taking, while forward-looking investors await more signs from the White House.”

With a long weekend ahead due to the Presidents Day holiday on Monday, investors are unlikely to make too many new bets and trading volumes are likely to be thin.

At 11:04 a.m. ET (1604 GMT), the Dow .DJI was down 56.36 points, or 0.27 percent, at 20,563.41, the S&P 500 .SPX was down 4.75 points, or 0.20 percent, at 2,342.47.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 0.68 points, or 0.01 percent, at 5,814.22.

Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors fell, with gains only in the defensive consumer staples .SPLRCS and real estate .SPLRCR sectors.

The S&P 500 financial index .SPSY, which has also gained on prospects of higher interest rates, was down 0.7 percent and the KBW Bank index .BKX fell nearly 0.8 percent.

The biggest drags were Bank of America (BAC.N) and Citigroup (C.N), which fell about 1 percent.

UnitedHealth (UNH.N) sank 3.7 percent to $157.55 after it was sued by the Justice Department over Medicare charges.

Other health insurers also fell, including Aetna (AET.N) by nearly 3 percent.

Kraft (KHC.O) jumped 8.2 percent to $94.45 after it said it would continue to pursue a $143 billion bid for Unilever (ULVR.L), despite being rebuffed. Unilever’s U.S.-listed shares (UL.N) surged 9.5 percent.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,886 to 904. On the Nasdaq, 1,624 issues fell and 1,041 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed 23 new 52-week highs and one new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 71 new highs and 15 new lows.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)
Published at Fri, 17 Feb 2017 16:39:30 +0000

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