* Fed President Jeffrey Lacker strikes hawkish note on rates
* Utilities under pressure, financials gain slightly
* 'Hard Brexit' worries hurt U.S. sentiment
* Dow down 0.54 pct, S&P down 0.51 pct, Nasdaq up 0.29 pct
(Updates to afternoon)
By Noel Randewich
Oct 4 U.S. stocks fell on Tuesday as investors
fretted about Britain's exit from the European Union and the
prospect of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike in coming
It was the second straight session of losses on Wall Street,
where investors were already on edge due to the uncertainty of a
tight race ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election.
Sterling slid to its lowest in more than three decades after
British Prime Minister Theresa May said the country's divorce
from the EU will not be "plain sailing" and that there would be
"bumps in the road."
While the weaker pound sent UK stocks surging, it raised
worries among U.S. investors.
"Clearly there has been some reverberation from across the
pond in terms of the prospect for a slightly more disorderly UK
separation from the EU," said Bill Northey, chief investment
officer for the private client group at U.S. Bank in Helena,
Angst about future interest rate hikes also returned to the
fore after Richmond Federal Reserve President Jeffrey Lacker
said he would have voted in favor of an increase at the latest
policy meeting had he been able to do so.
Traders have priced in a 63 percent chance of the Fed
raising interest rates in December, according to the CME Group's
Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) lowered its
2016 growth forecast for the U.S. economy to 1.6 percent from
2.2 percent and painted a gloomy picture of the global economy.
Ten of the 11 major S&P 500 indexes fell, with the high
dividend-paying utilities sector falling 2.26 percent
and telecom services down 2.03 percent.
At 2:18 pm ET, the Dow Jones industrial average was
down 0.54 percent at 18,155.54 points and the S&P 500 had
lost 0.51 percent to 2,150.08.
The Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.29 percent to
Sears surged 4.57 percent after Bloomberg reported
that the department store chain's Craftsman tool brand had
attracted multiple bidders.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a
2.64-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.63-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 13 new 52-week highs and 4 new lows; the
Nasdaq Composite recorded 76 new highs and 25 new lows.
(Additional reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru;
Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)