May 10, 2017 / 5:04 PM / 8 months ago

US STOCKS-Tepid earnings, Comey sacking weigh on Wall St

* Walt Disney drops after results, weighs on Dow and S&P

* Allergan drops after reporting quarterly loss

* Dow down 0.11 pct, S&P up 0.03 pct, Nasdaq up 0.01 pct (Updates to early afternoon)

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

May 10 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks struggled for direction on Wednesday as investors weighed a batch of weak corporate earnings and a shock move by President Donald Trump to fire his FBI chief.

Trump said he fired FBI Director James Comey, who had been leading an investigation into his 2016 presidential campaign’s possible collusion with Russia, over his handling of an email scandal involving then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

“This is just another distraction,” said Jeff Zipper, managing director of investments at U.S. Bank’s Private Client Reserve in Palm Beach, Florida.

Dealing with replacing Comey takes Congress “further away from getting those changes” the stock market is looking for, importantly tax reforms, Zipper added.

Trump’s promise to significantly cut taxes and ease financial regulations has underpinned a record-setting rally on Wall Street since his election in November.

At 12:43 p.m. ET (1643 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 23.08 points, or 0.11 percent, at 20,952.7, the S&P 500 was up 0.83 points, or 0.03 percent, at 2,397.75 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.36 points, or 0.01 percent, at 6,120.94.

Six of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were lower, with healthcare and consumer discretionary sectors dropping the most. Energy was up 1.2 percent on the back of a 3 percent jump in oil prices.

Disney fell 2.5 percent and was the top drag on the Dow and the S&P 500 after the media company reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue and a decline in the number of ESPN subscribers.

Allergan dropped 3.6 percent to $230.10 after the Botox-maker posted a quarterly loss as it took a write down on the value of its stake in Teva Pharmaceutical.

Priceline tumbled nearly 5 percent to $1,818 after the travel website operator forecast current-quarter earnings below analysts’ expectations.

One bright spot was Nvidia, which rose 14 percent after the chipmaker reported a better-than-expected jump in quarterly revenue. Shares of rival AMD also rose.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,784 to 1,059. On the Nasdaq, 1,390 issues rose and 1,338 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 20 52-week highs and two lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 100 highs and 57 lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos in New York; Editing by Anil D‘Silva)

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