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* Final reading of Q3 GDP at 3.5 pct vs. est. 3.3 pct
* Apple's fall weighs on S&P, Nasdaq
* S&P has risen about 11 pct so far in 2016
* Indexes down: Dow 0.18 pct, S&P 0.30 pct, Nasdaq 0.58 pct (Updates to early afternoon)
By Tanya Agrawal
Dec 22 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were lower in early afternoon trading on Thursday, dragging the Dow Jones Industrial Average further away from 20,000, a level it has never breached.
The blue-chip index has been flirting with the historic level for the last several days and came within 13 points of the mark on Wednesday.
U.S. stocks have rallied since the Nov. 8 election, with the Dow up about 9 percent and the S&P 500 gaining 6 percent on bets that the economy would benefit from President-elect Donald Trump's plans for deregulation and infrastructure spending.
The S&P has risen about 11 percent in 2016, topping the 8 percent gain that strategists had predicted in a Reuters poll 12 months ago.
A pullback in the days ahead is welcome as it will relieve short-term overbought conditions and overly bullish sentiment, Katie Stockton, chief technical strategist at brokerage BTIG, said in a note.
The market showed little reaction to data showing that the U.S. economy grew faster than initially thought in the third quarter, notching up its best performance in two years.
Gross domestic product increased at a 3.5 percent annual rate instead of the previously reported 3.2 percent pace, the Commerce Department said in its third GDP estimate.
Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, rose 0.2 percent in November, below the estimated 0.3 percent gain.
At 12:39 p.m. ET (1739 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was down 36.35 points, or 0.18 percent, at 19,905.61.
The S&P 500 was down 6.84 points, or 0.30 percent, at 2,258.34.
The Nasdaq Composite was down 31.81 points, or 0.58 percent, at 5,439.63.
Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with the consumer discretionary index's 1.07 percent fall leading the decliners. Amazon's 0.97 percent fall was the biggest drag on the sector.
"We're seeing a little bit of rotation going on with investors moving out of technology and consumer sectors and into telecommunications," said Jamie Cox, managing partner at Harris Financial Group in Richmond, Virginia.
S&P telecommunications index led the gainers, with a 0.83 percent rise.
Apple fell 1 percent to $115.88 after Nokia said it had filed a number of lawsuits against the iPhone maker for patent infringement. The stock was the biggest drag on the S&P and Nasdaq.
ConAgra rose 3.3 percent to $39.25 after the packaged foods maker's quarterly profit beat estimates.
Red Hat fell 12.4 percent to $69.92 after the Linux software distributor's quarterly revenue fell below estimates.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,786 to 1,087. On the Nasdaq, 1,846 issues fell and 924 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed ten new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 88 new highs and 37 new lows. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)