* Dollar trades near one-month low, gold surges
* Merck up after multiple broker upgrades
* Disney drops after rating cut
* Indexes down: Dow 0.43 pct, S&P 0.38 pct, Nasdaq 0.48 pct
(Updates to open)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
Jan 12 Wall Street's main indexes on Thursday
got off to their worst start this year after Donald Trump gave
little clarity on his promises for economic growth that had
powered a record-breaking rally on Wall Street for two months.
The U.S. President-elect, in his first news conference on
Wednesday, gave no details on tax cuts or infrastructure
spending, and instead lashed out at U.S. spy agencies and news
agencies over what he called a 'phony' Russia dossier.
He also blasted pharmaceutical companies over high drug
prices, causing health stocks to snap a six-day winning streak
and a wobble in Wall Street.
"The indices are trading lower as investors rethink
yesterday Trump press conference," said Peter Cardillo, chief
market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.
"The fact that there was no mention of fiscal policy is
weighing on the greenback this morning (and) causing a cautious
mood in the equity arena."
At 9:39 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was
down 85.36 points, or 0.43 percent, at 19,868.92, the S&P 500
was down 8.55 points, or 0.38 percent, at 2,266.77 and
the Nasdaq Composite was down 26.91 points, or 0.48
percent, at 5,536.74.
The three indexes experienced their biggest one-day drop
since Dec. 30.
Ten of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were lower, with the
technology, financial and industrial
sectors all down 0.5 percent or more.
The energy sector was the only one with gains,
boosted by a more-than-2 percent rise in oil prices.
The dollar recovered slightly, but continued to trade
close to a one-month low. Prices of safe-haven gold rose
to their highest since late November.
With Trump's comments at the back of their minds, investors
will turn their focus to the earnings season, which will kick
off in earnest on Friday when a trio of big banks report.
S&P 500 companies' earnings in the fourth quarter are
estimated to have risen 5.7 percent - the best in three years -
largely due to a rise in financial stocks, according to Thomson
Merck, one of the few health stocks that avoided
Wednesday's carnage, gained 1.8 percent after multiple broker
The drugmaker's fellow Dow component Disney Co was
off 1.3 percent at $108.12 after Pivotal cut its rating on the
stock to 'sell'.
Apple was off 0.63 percent at $119. Skyworks
Solutions, an Apple supplier, lost 2.6 percent after a
Goldman Sachs downgrade.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,462
to 1,103. On the Nasdaq, 1,580 issues fell and 649 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed four new 52-week highs and two new
lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 16 new highs and four new lows.
(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by