* Signs that vote on healthcare bill might be pushed back
* Oil prices hover just above four-month lows
* Banks lead major S&P sectors
* Accenture falls after quarterly profit slips
* Indexes up: Dow 0.14 pct, S&P 0.19 pct, Nasdaq 0.17 pct
(Adds details, changes comment, updates prices)
By Tanya Agrawal
March 23 U.S. stocks were higher in late morning
trading on Thursday as investors snapped up beaten-down bank
stocks, but remained cautious ahead of a vote on a healthcare
bill that is seen as President Donald Trump's first policy test.
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.
Worries over Trump's ability to press ahead with his
legislative agenda through Congress drove Wall Street on Tuesday
to its biggest one-day loss since before the Nov. 8 presidential
"There's been a lot of optimism regarding the Trump
administration so this could very well be the first setback,"
said Erik Davidson, chief investment officer at Wells Fargo
Private Bank in San Francisco.
"What the market wants is to get through the healthcare
question so that we can move on to tax reform."
The S&P 500 has gained 10 percent since the 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.
At 10:51 a.m. ET (1451 GMT) the Dow Jones Industrial Average
was up 29.76 points, or 0.14 percent, at 20,691.06, the
S&P 500 was up 4.59 points, or 0.19 percent, at 2,353.04.
The Nasdaq Composite was up 10.06 points, or 0.17
percent, at 5,831.70.
Eight of the 11 major S&P indexes were higher, with the
financial index's 1.01 percent rise leading the
The sector, which had its worst one-day fall since June on
Tuesday, has risen the most since the election.
Bank of America's 1.9 percent rise boosted the S&P,
while Goldman Sachs' 2.9 percent increase helped lift the
Oil prices dipped, struggling to recover from four-month
lows because of investor concerns that OPEC-led supply cuts were
not yet reducing record U.S. crude inventories.
Ford fell 1.1 percent to $11.64 after the automaker
said it would be less profitable in 2017 on a pre-tax basis,
compared with a year earlier.
Five Below rose 10.9 percent to $42.27 after the
retailer's quarterly earnings beat estimates.
Accenture fell 3.5 percent to $122.04 after the
consulting and outsourcing services provider's quarterly profit
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,051
to 691. On the Nasdaq, 1,859 issues rose and 744 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed eight new 52-week highs and one new
low, while the Nasdaq recorded 28 new highs and 27 new lows.
(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil