* Utilities fall, financials rise as bond yields climb
* Oracle is top boost to technology sector
* Dow down 0.17 pct, S&P down 0.25 pct, Nasdaq up 0.09 pct
(Updates to late afternoon, changes byline)
By Sinead Carew
March 16 U.S. stocks slipped on Thursday as
healthcare and utilities stocks fell while financials rose with
bond yields as traders reversed their initial reaction to the
U.S. Federal Reserve's policy statement, which was more dovish
The financial index was the S&P's strongest sector,
rebounding from Wednesday's decline while utilities -
often used as a proxy for bonds - were its weakest link as
benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields rose.
Investors were likely taking profits in healthcare stocks,
which have outperformed the broader market so far this year but
face policy uncertainty, according to Jim Paulsen, chief
investment strategist at Wells Capital Management in
Although President Donald Trump made headlines with a budget
proposal signaling higher regulatory costs for drug companies,
investors are not convinced the administration will be able to
win passage of the healthcare changes it is seeking, Paulsen
"There's a lot of roadblocks to getting anything substantial
passed. In the meantime, you've had a heck of a run in
healthcare stocks. It's just a good time to take a little
profits," he said.
The S&P 500 healthcare index dropped more than 1
percent while utilities fell 1.3 percent. A 0.1 percent gain in
technology and a 0.3 percent gain in financials helped
stem overall losses.
At 3:13 p.m., the Dow Jones Industrial Average was
down 34.93 points, or 0.17 percent, to 20,915.17, the S&P 500
had lost 5.85 points, or 0.25 percent, to 2,379.41, and
the Nasdaq Composite had dropped 5.46 points, or 0.09
percent, to 5,894.59.
Oracle surged to a record high of $46.99 and was
last up 6.7 percent at $45.93 after the business software maker
issued a better-than-expected quarterly profit.
Shares of Tesla rose 2.9 percent after the electric
carmaker said it would raise about $1.15 billion as the company
speeds up the launch of its Model 3 sedan.
Tyson Foods slipped 1.9 percent on news that a form
of bird flu that is highly lethal for poultry had infected a
second commercial chicken flock.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a
1.20-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.34-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 52 new 52-week highs and one new low; the
Nasdaq Composite recorded 139 new highs and 49 new lows.
(Additional reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru;
Editing by Leslie Adler)