October 22, 2018 / 5:54 PM / 25 days ago

US STOCKS-Dow, S&P slip as energy, financials weigh; tech boosts Nasdaq

(For a live blog on the U.S. stock market, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in an Eikon news window)

* Halliburton forecast, oil price drop hit energy stocks

* Bristol-Myers leads health stocks lower on weak cancer data

* Financials drop as Treasury yield flattens ahead of auction

* Beaten-down tech stock up over 1 pct ahead of key earnings

* Dow down 0.45 pct, S&P down 0.31 pct, Nasdaq up 0.42 pct (Updates prices, adds details)

By Amy Caren Daniel

Oct 22 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped in volatile trading on Monday as a boost from news in China and Italy faded and losses in energy and financial stocks weighed, but gains in technology stocks helped limit losses and lifted the Nasdaq.

The Dow swung between gains and losses of more than 100 points, highlighting the choppiness in U.S. equities as they struggle to recover from a recent selloff even as the earnings season gathers steam.

The market opened higher, boosted by a surge in China stocks and positive sentiment across Europe on Moody's decision to keep Italy's sovereign rating outlook stable.

But the gains petered out after the open, with analysts saying that news from neither China nor Italy was enough for the Wall Street to hold its levels.

What was helping the market was a 1.09 percent jump in beaten-down technology stocks. The sector has lost about 6 percent so far in October, already its worst month in six years, lowering valuations of high-growth stocks.

Microsoft gained 1.2 percent and Intel, with help from a Nomura upgrade, jumped 1.8 percent at the start of a big week for technology earnings.

Amazon rose 1.3 percent and Alphabet gained 0.7 percent. Both are due to report results later this week, while Facebook and Apple, reporting next week, gained about 1 percent.

"Investors are looking for opportunities to buy right now. They are taking advantage of the recent sell-off to buy high-growth stocks," said Jeff Carbone, managing partner for Cornerstone Wealth, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

While profits of S&P 500 companies are expected to have jumped nearly 22 percent in the third quarter, according to Refinitiv data, the outlook for future growth due to concerns over trade, rising costs and other factors.

Energy stocks sank 1.38 percent, weighed down by lower crude oil prices and Halliburton's warning that fourth-quarter earnings would miss estimates amid ongoing weakness in the North American hydraulic fracturing market.

Halliburton and rival oilfield services provider Schlumberger, both fell 3.2 percent.

At 13:36 p.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 115.27 points, or 0.45 percent, at 25,329.07, the S&P 500 was down 8.52 points, or 0.31 percent, at 2,759.26 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 31.49 points, or 0.42 percent, at 7,480.51.

Finiancial stocks fell 1.37 percent as the U.S. Treasury yield curve flattened to its lowest level in more than two weeks ahead of new debt auctions.

Health stocks slid 0.85 percent, largely as cancer drug makers posted unimpressive trial data at an industry conference. Bristol-Myers fell 5.8 percent on a delay to a regulatory approval for its cancer therapy.

Hasbro dropped 3.6 percent after its quarterly results missed estimates as the demise of major retail partner Toys 'R' Us hurt sales.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.40-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.21-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P recorded four new 52-week highs and 46 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 14 new highs and 223 new lows. (Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Sruthi Shankar; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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