* Gilead top drag on S&P, Nasdaq following weak forecast
* Alaska Air rises on jump in quarterly revenue
* Walt Disney rises after CEO says open to extending term
* Indexes down: Dow 0.2 pct, S&P 0.23 pct, Nasdaq 0.3pct
(Updates to open)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
Feb 8 U.S. stocks were slightly lower on
Wednesday, weighed down by losses in bank and healthcare stocks.
Oil prices fell 0.5 percent as an increase in U.S. crude
inventories and a slump in Chinese demand implied that global
oil markets remain oversupplied despite OPEC-led efforts to cut
The S&P 500 financial index, which has outperformed
other sectors in a post-election rally, was down 0.83 percent
and was on track for its third straight day of decline.
Healthcare was off 0.66 percent, dragged down by
The drugmaker's stock, which also weighed on the
S&P and the Nasdaq, was down 9.3 percent after the company
projected disappointing sales for its hepatitis C drugs this
However, the fourth-quarter earnings season is expected to
end on a high note. Combined earnings of S&P 500 companies are
estimated to have risen 8.2 percent - the most in nine quarters.
At 9:43 a.m. ET (1443 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average
was down 40.95 points, or 0.2 percent, at 20,049.34, the
S&P 500 was down 5.31 points, or 0.23 percent, at
2,287.77 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 17.04 points,
or 0.3 percent, at 5,657.18.
Walt Disney was up 1.6 percent at $110.89 after Bob
Iger said he was open to extending his term as chief executive
Cognizant rose 4 percent to $55.96 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.
U.S. carrier Alaska Air rose 2.5 percent to $96.23
after the company reported a 10.7 percent jump in quarterly
Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,684
to 946. On the Nasdaq, 1,657 issues fell and 698 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed six new 52-week highs and three new
lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 26 new highs and 18 new lows.
(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by