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US STOCKS-Wall Street drops as turmoil in Washington outweighs trade optimism

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* Trump sought foreign meddling in 2020 election - Report

* Beyond Meat shares surge on McDonald’s tie-up

* Facebook dips on report of antitrust investigation

* Indexes down: Dow 0.04%, S&P 0.23%, Nasdaq 0.48% (Updates to open)

Sept 26 (Reuters) - U.S. stock indexes dipped on Thursday as fresh developments in an inquiry into the impeachment of President Donald Trump offset gains from trade-related optimism fueled by upbeat comments from China.

The U.S. House Intelligence Committee released a declassified version of a whistleblower report alleging that Trump used his office to solicit interference in the 2020 presidential election from a foreign country. The report is seen as central to the impeachment inquiry.

“We need something like a trade deal to get through. Without that we are just going to bounce around here where if you get some bad political news, it sells off,” said Kim Forrest, Chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital Partners in Pittsburgh.

Beijing said earlier on Thursday it was in close communication with the United States and was preparing to make progress with their trade talks in October.

Facebook Inc slipped 1.7% as a person familiar with the matter told Reuters that the U.S. Justice Department will open an antitrust investigation of the social media company.

Facebook’s shares pulled the communication services sector down 0.71%.

The steady dividend paying-paying sectors - consumer staples , utilities and real estate - were leading gains among the 11 major S&P sectors.

The three, widely regarded as defensive plays, are also the best performing S&P sectors this quarter.

At 10:00 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 10.98 points, or 0.04%, at 26,959.73, the S&P 500 was down 6.94 points, or 0.23%, at 2,977.93. The Nasdaq Composite was down 39.05 points, or 0.48%, at 8,038.33.

Leisure cruise operator Carnival Corp dropped 7.8%, set for its worst day in six months after it cut its full-year profit forecast for the third time on the back of higher fuel prices.

Shares in one of this year’s market success stories, Beyond Meat, jumped 10.3% as it added McDonald’s Corp to a growing list of clients for its plant-based patties.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.30-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.54-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 19 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 16 new highs and 35 new lows. (Reporting by Ambar Warrick and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Sriraj Kalluvila)