December 28, 2018 / 4:53 PM / 3 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St's two-day rally fades on tech, oil weakness

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* Indexes up: Dow 0.09 pct, S&P 0.09 pct, Nasdaq 0.08 pct

* Gains in health, financials offset tech, energy drag

* U.S. pending home sales fall unexpectedly in November

* U.S. stocks on pace to snap three straight weeks of losses (Changes comment, adds details, updates prices)

By Medha Singh

Dec 28 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were struggling on Friday to extend their rally to a third straight day, weighed down by a drop in the energy and technology sectors at the end of a week that has seen the market swing wildly.

The week started off with Wall Street's worst-ever Christmas Eve drop, followed by Dow Jones Industrial Average's record 1,000-plus point surge on Wednesday and a stunning reversal late on Thursday that ensured two days of gains.

The trend continued on Friday as the three main indexes flitted between gains and losses. The swings, though, were to a lesser degree, with the S&P 500 rising as much as 0.78 percent before dropping 0.64 percent to a session low.

Technology stocks, which had powered the rally earlier this year and were at the center of the recent pullback, were flat, while energy stocks slipped 0.33 percent.

Holding the market were the financial and health sectors, up about 0.4 percent each.

"We're seeing some big moves today and I expect the wild ride to continue, like the ones we've seen in the last couple of trading days," said Ryan Nauman, market strategist at Informa Financial Intelligence in Zephyr Cove, Nevada.

"Since the beginning of October, investors are more defensive. Rather than buying the dip, they are selling the rally. They are looking to take gains when they can," Nauman added.

One dampener was a report that showed contracts to buy previously owned homes fell unexpectedly in November, the latest sign of weakness in the U.S. housing market.

At 11:36 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 20.07 points, or 0.09 percent, at 23,158.89, while the S&P 500 was up 2.33 points, or 0.09 percent, at 2,491.16. The Nasdaq Composite was up 5.59 points, or 0.08 percent, at 6,585.08.

While the three indexes are on pace to snap a streak of three straight weeks of losses, they are still down about 9 percent for December and on track for their biggest annual percentage drop since 2008.

Investors head into 2019 with a list of worries ranging from U.S.-China trade tensions, rising interest rates and a cooling economy to a partial U.S. government shutdown, which started on Saturday.

Among stocks, Tesla Inc rose 2.9 percent after the electric automaker named Oracle Corp co-founder Larry Ellison and Walgreens Boots Alliance's executive Kathleen Wilson-Thompson as two independent board directors.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.59-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.66-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded no new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded four new highs and 52 new lows. (Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)

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