* Financial sector set for worst day in nearly three weeks
* Goldman Sachs weighs on Dow
* Cognizant rises after board deal with Elliott, results
* Dow down 0.19 pct, S&P flat, Nasdaq up 0.02 pct
(Updates to early afternoon)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
Feb 8 The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite index
were little changed on Wednesday, while the Dow was pressured by
losses in bank stocks.
The financial index dropped 1 percent and was on
track to mark its biggest drop in three weeks due to declines in
JPMorgan and Wells Fargo.
Analysts say market is reducing expectations for the number
of U.S. interest rate hikes this year as well as for fiscal
stimulus policies and tax cuts from President Donald Trump's
Goldman Sachs fell 1.1 percent and was the biggest
drag on the Dow.
The dollar slipped 0.14 percent, while gold rose to a near
three-month high amid political uncertainty in Europe ahead of
At 12:24 p.m. ET (1724 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial
Average was down 38.02 points, or 0.19 percent, at
20,052.27 and the S&P 500 was down 0.17 points, or flat,
at 2,292.91. The Nasdaq Composite was up 1.07 points, or
0.02 percent, at 5,675.28.
Six of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, led by gains in
technology and consumer discretionary
Cognizant rose 4 percent to $55.93 after the IT
services provider named three directors to its board and
announced a $3.4 billion share buyback program, bowing to
pressure from activist shareholder Elliott Management.
Healthcare was off 0.29 percent, dragged down by
Gilead. The drugmaker's stock, which also weighed on
the S&P and the Nasdaq, slid 9.7 percent after the company
projected disappointing sales for its hepatitis C drugs this
U.S. carrier Alaska Air rose 2 percent to $96.06
after the company reported a 10.7 percent jump in quarterly
Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,490
to 1,370. On the Nasdaq, 1,746 issues fell and 997 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed 16 new 52-week highs and three new
lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 67 new highs and 40 new lows.
(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by