* Bank stocks fall as investors book profits
* Energy stocks slip on lower oil prices
* Kraft up on Unilever bid, helps Nasdaq limit losses
* Dow down 0.27 pct, S&P down 0.15 pct, Nasdaq up 0.08 pct (Updates to early afternoon)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
Feb 17 (Reuters) - The Dow and S&P 500 dipped on Friday, led by bank and energy stocks, as investors booked profits after a record-setting few days, while gains in Kraft Heinz helped keep the Nasdaq afloat.
Since President Donald Trump vowed last week to announce a tax reform in the coming weeks, Wall Street has inched up to record intraday and closing highs for most of this week in a rally where financials, mainly banks, outperformed other sectors.
But, with a strong fourth-quarter earnings season mostly complete, many investors say they need concrete signs of progress from Trump on his policy plans to justify more gains.
“While the markets have continued to melt up a little in the past two weeks, I‘m not seeing depth, volume or conviction of the market that is looking to break out higher,” said Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM US LLP.
“If anything I think we are setting up for a period of profit taking, while forward-looking investors await more signs from the White House.”
With a long weekend ahead due to the Presidents Day holiday on Monday, investors are unlikely to make too many new bets and trading volumes are likely to be thin.
At 12:30 p.m. ET (1730 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 54.89 points, or 0.27 percent, at 20,564.88 and the S&P 500 was down 3.7 points, or 0.15 percent, at 2,343.52.
The Nasdaq Composite was up 4.47 points, or 0.08 percent, at 5,819.37, helped mainly by Kraft’s 7.6 percent jump to $93.95.
Kraft said it would continue to pursue a $143 billion bid for Unilever, despite being rebuffed. Unilever’s U.S.-listed shares surged 11.6 percent.
Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors fell, with Kraft’s gains helping the consumer staples notch as gain of 0.36 percent.
The S&P 500 financial index, which has also gained on prospects of higher interest rates, was down 0.5 percent and the KBW Bank index fell nearly 0.46 percent.
Energy stocks fell 0.75 percent as oil prices slipped.
UnitedHealth sank 3.7 percent to $157.55 after it was sued by the Justice Department over Medicare charges.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,844 to 1,012. On the Nasdaq, 1,485 issues fell and 1,261 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed 27 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 90 new highs and 18 new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)