* Signs that vote on healthcare bill might be pushed back
* Oil prices hover just about four-month lows
* Accenture falls after quarterly profit slips
* Dow up 0.02 pct, S&P up 0.01 pct, Nasdaq off 0.07 pct
(Updates to open)
By Tanya Agrawal
March 23 Wall Street was little changed in early
trading on Thursday amid signs that President Donald Trump is
struggling to get enough votes to pass a healthcare bill in
Trump was set to make a final push to secure the votes to
begin dismantling Obamacare in the House of Representatives,
with signs that enough Republicans might defect to jeopardize
one of his top legislative priorities.
Republican leaders hoped to vote on Thursday but there were
signs the deadline could be pushed back. Losing or delaying it
would bruise investors' confidence in Trump's ability to deliver
on his promises of tax cuts and infrastructure spending.
"Even if Trump gets the healthcare bill through the House,
which is questionable, it's all but certain to fail in the
Senate. That seems to be the political wisdom," said John
Traynor, chief investment officer at People's United Bank in
"Investors are concerned ... if this vote goes poorly, then
what are the implications for tax reform and repatriation of
The S&P 500 has gained 10 percent since the Nov. 8
presidential election, spurred mainly by Trump's campaign
promises to enact legislation that are seen as pro-business.
The benchmark index is trading at about 18 times expected
forward earnings, compared with a 10-year average of 14,
according to Thomson Reuters data.
"I'm not calling for a major correction as of yet, but for
investors who want to remain invested largely in equities, I
suggest it's a good time to think about buying a protection to
protect from a market downturn," said Hussein Sayed, chief
market strategist at FXTM.
At 9:38 a.m. ET (1338 GMT) the Dow Jones Industrial Average
was up 3.47 points, or 0.02 percent, at 20,664.77, the
S&P 500 was up 0.33 points, or 0.01 percent, at 2,348.78.
The Nasdaq Composite was down 4.05 points, or 0.07
percent, at 5,817.59.
Six of the 11 major S&P indexes were lower, with the
telecommunications index's 0.25 percent fall leading
Oil prices were above four-month lows, with a recovery
reined in by investor concerns that OPEC-led supply cuts were
not yet reducing record U.S. crude inventories.
Ford fell 2.2 percent to $11.53 after the automaker
said it would be less profitable in 2017 on a pre-tax basis,
compared with a year earlier.
Five Below rose 7.3 percent to $40.90 in premarket
trading after the retailer's quarterly earnings beat estimates.
Accenture fell 3.9 percent to $121.52 after the
consulting and outsourcing services provider's quarterly profit
Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,432
to 1,035. On the Nasdaq, 1,195 issues fell and 894 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed three new 52-week highs and one new
(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil