May 2, 2019 / 5:24 PM / 4 months ago

US STOCKS-Slide in energy stocks push Wall Street lower

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* Oil stocks track crude slump, drag S&P 500 lower

* Nine of 11 major S&P sectors in the red

* Under Armour jumps on profit forecast raise

* Dow Inc slips as core earnings drop

* Indexes fall: Dow 0.77%, S&P 0.47%, Nasdaq 0.50% (Updates to early afternoon)

By Shreyashi Sanyal and Sruthi Shankar

May 2 (Reuters) - Wall Street's main indexes slipped on Thursday, as a slide in energy stocks added to the gloom after the Federal Reserve dampened expectations of an interest rate cut this year.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell sought to downplay low inflation as transient, forcing traders to lower their bets on a rate cut this year and snapping a rally in the S&P 500 on Wednesday.

Adding to woes, oil prices slid on record U.S. crude production that led to a surge in inventories, dragging the energy index 1.06% lower, the most among the major S&P sectors.

With first-quarter earnings season winding down, investors are looking for fresh catalysts such as U.S.-China trade developments and economic data.

"The markets seemed to be stalling out after hitting all-time highs and the focus just shifted towards taking some money off the table," said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist and senior portfolio manager at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.

"There is just a genuine lack of catalysts, now that most of the big names have reported there is no real driver."

Markets are also waiting for a reading of the Labor Market's non-farm payrolls data on Friday that is expected to show fewer job additions last month compared with March.

At 12:50 p.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 202.80 points, or 0.77%, at 26,227.34, the S&P 500 was down 13.61 points, or 0.47%, at 2,910.12 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 40.44 points, or 0.50%, at 8,009.20.

More than 350 of the S&P 500 companies have reported so far, and analysts now expect earnings to rise 0.7%, compared with a 2% fall estimated at the beginning of April, according to Refinitiv data.

Among gainers, Qualcomm Inc rose 1.71% after analysts said the chipmaker was well-positioned in the 5G networks space even as it forecast disappointing current-quarter sales.

The Philadelphia Semiconductor index rose 0.82%.

Financial stocks, which rose 0.13%, were also among a few gainers, helped by MetLife Inc. The insurer's shares rose 3.85% after beating quarterly profit estimates, helped by strong underwriting, volume growth, as well as higher investment income.

Under Armour Inc gained 4.12% after the sportswear maker posted strong quarterly earnings and raised its full-year profit forecast, benefiting from higher demand in overseas markets.

Among decliners, Dow Inc, the commodity chemicals division spun off from DowDuPont Inc, tumbled 5.42% after reporting a 24 percent fall in core earnings.

Kellogg Co dropped about 3.27% after the cereal and snacks maker said it would replace its chief financial officer and reported a 36.5 percent decline in first-quarter earnings.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.76-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.31-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded nine new 52-week highs and six new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 41 new highs and 53 new lows. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Anil D'Silva)

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