* Bank sector set to fall for second day in a row
* Defensive utilities, real estate stocks outperform
* Indexes down: Dow 0.03 pct, S&P 0.04 pct, Nasdaq 0.16 pct
(Updates to early afternoon)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
Dec 29 U.S. stocks slipped on Thursday and were
headed for a second day of losses as bank and technology stocks
came under pressure.
The S&P 500 financial index dropped 1.01 percent,
after having risen nearly 20 percent in 2016. The technology
index, which has risen 13 percent this year, was down
U.S. equities had been enjoying a rally ever since Donald
Trump was elected president in November on bets that the economy
would benefit from his plans to introduce tax cuts, deregulation
and higher infrastructure spending.
The near two-month rally has seen the three main Wall Street
indexes rack up double-digit percentage gains, but has left some
market participants nervous about a potential correction.
The S&P 500 index suffered its biggest one-day percentage
drop on Wednesday, following weak housing data and losses in the
technology sector. The triple-digit loss on the Dow pulled it
further away from its march towards 20,000.
The effects of a strong weekly jobs report, which supported
slight gains during an earlier session, were quick to fade.
"The market is looking like it has gotten a bit ahead of
itself, and while I'm not turning bearish, I am becoming a bit
more cautious in the near-term," said Robert Pavlik, chief
market strategist at Boston Private Wealth.
"I wouldn't be surprised to see the market begin the year
with a little bit of a rally and start to give back quickly."
At 12:51 p.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was
down 5.66 points, or 0.03 percent, at 19,828.02.
The S&P 500 was down 1.05 points, or 0.04 percent, at
The Nasdaq Composite was down 8.89 points, or 0.16
percent, at 5,429.67.
Six of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were lower, led by
losses in financials and energy.
Defensive utilities, real estate and
telecom services - which have largely underperformed
in the post-election rally - were the top gainers as investors
hunted for year-end bargains.
Bank of America, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley
were down more than 1.7 percent each. Goldman Sachs
and JPMorgan weighed the most on the Dow.
Drug developer Cempra lost more than half of its
value after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejected its
antibiotic treatment for pneumonia.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,614
to 1,236. On the Nasdaq, 1,471 issues fell and 1,303 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed one new 52-week high and three new
lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 55 new highs and 34 new lows.
(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by