* Biogen falls on downgrade; top drag on S&P
* Oracle top boost to technology sector
* Dow down 0.06 pct, S&P down 0.12 pct, Nasdaq up 0.03 pct
(Updates to early afternoon)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
March 16 U.S. stocks slipped on Thursday
pressured by healthcare shares after proposals in President
Donald Trump's budget signaled higher regulatory costs for the
sector and a cut in federal funding for medical research.
For 2018, the Trump administration has budgeted over $2
billion in fees to be collected by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration from the industry, twice as much as in 2017,
according to proposed budget documents released on Thursday.
The proposal calls for a scale back to the National
Institutes of Health budget by nearly 20 percent and said
industries that benefit from the FDA's approval "can and should
pay for their share."
The S&P 500 healthcare index dropped more than 1
percent, underperforming the broader market.
Biogen weighed down the Nasdaq, after two
brokerages downgraded the stock, while AbbVie was the
biggest drag on the S&P 500.
Gains in technology and finance helped stem
Bank stocks got a boost after the Federal Reserve on
Wednesday raised interest rates for the first time this
The S&P 500 financial index was the top gainer with
a 0.35 percent increase.
Oracle surged to a record high of $46.99 and
supported the S&P after the business software maker issued a
better-than-expected quarterly profit.
"There is certainly the element of profit taking today,"
said Marcelle Daher, senior managing director, asset allocation
at Manulife Asset Management in Boston, Massachusetts.
At 12:29 p.m. ET (1629 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial
Average was down 13.09 points, or 0.06 percent, at
20,937.01, the S&P 500 was down 2.85 points, or 0.12
percent, at 2,382.41 and the Nasdaq Composite was up
1.70 points, or 0.03 percent, at 5,901.75.
Shares of Tesla rose 2.8 percent after the electric
carmaker said it would raise about $1.15 billion as the company
speeds up the launch of its Model 3 sedan.
Tyson Foods slipped 2.9 percent on news that a form
of bird flu that is highly lethal for poultry had infected a
second commercial chicken flock.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,630
to 1,232. On the Nasdaq, 1,655 issues rose and 1,068 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed 49 stocks hitting 52-week highs and
no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 133 new highs and 41
(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Anil D'Silva & Shri Navaratnam)