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US STOCKS-Wall St slips on Trump comments, geopolitical worries
March 6, 2017 / 4:11 PM / 7 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St slips on Trump comments, geopolitical worries

* VIX rises for first time in four days

* Netflix top stock on S&P after UBS upgrade

* Fed meets next week to decide on rate hike

* Indexes down: Dow 0.39 pct, S&P 0.57 pct, Nasdaq 0.66 pct (Adds details, comments, updates prices)

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

March 6 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were lower on Monday amid losses across sectors as investors’ appetite for risk was curbed by geopolitical tensions in Asia and President Donald Trump’s accusation that his predecessor, Barack Obama, wiretapped him.

Some investors worried that the accusation could distract Trump from his economic agenda of introducing tax cuts and simplifying regulations that has powered a record-setting rally on Wall Street since the election.

However, the lack of detail on Trump’s proposals and setbacks in filling his Cabinet have made investors jittery amid lofty market valuations.

The CBOE Volatility index, also dubbed Wall Street’s fear gauge, rose for the first time in four days.

“We’ve been able to digest a lot of intrigue coming out of Washington and markets haven’t taken a much of pause here so I think the pause starts this week and perhaps even starts today,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Equity Capital Markets in New York.

The S&P 500 is trading at about 18 times forward earnings estimates against the long-term average of 15 times, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Investors are also gearing up for a U.S. interest rate hike - with bets for a move next week jumping to 85 percent from just about 30 percent at the start of last week.

Rising geopolitical tensions in East Asia after North Korea fired four ballistic missiles also weighed on global stock markets.

At 10:40 a.m. ET (1540 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 81.44 points, or 0.39 percent, at 20,924.27, the S&P 500 was down 13.61 points, or 0.57 percent, at 2,369.51 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 38.52 points, or 0.66 percent, at 5,832.24.

All of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower. Financials , which gained the most in the post-election rally, took the biggest hit, while utilities that have lagged since November brought up the rear.

Among stocks, Netflix, was the top stock on the S&P, up 1.5 percent to $141.26 following a UBS rating upgrade to “buy”.

Tyson Foods was down 3.8 percent at $61.16 after a strain of bird flu was detected in a chicken breeder flock on a Tennessee farm contracted with the company.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 2,233 to 561. On the Nasdaq, 2,058 issues fell and 586 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed six new 52-week highs and five new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 32 new highs and 35 new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan and Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Sriraj Kalluvila)

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