US STOCKS-Wall St drifts lower; investors worry about tax-cut delay


Reuters

* Retail ETF moves lower as investors worry about border tax
    * Nasdaq hits intraday high before moving lower
    * Walt Disney higher as 'Beauty and the Beast' tops box
office
    * Dow -0.04 pct, S&P -0.20 pct, Nasdaq +0.01 pct

 (Updates to close)
    By Noel RandewichMarch 20 (Reuters) - Wall Street drifted lower on Monday as
investors worried that President Donald Trump's plan to cut
taxes and boost the economy could take longer than previously
expected.
    The U.S. stock market has been on a record-setting spree
since the election of Trump as president, but the rally has
faltered in recent weeks as investors fret about a lack of
clarity on his proposals to reform taxes and cut regulation.
    The S&P 500 and the Dow ended lower after FBI Director James
Comey told a congressional hearing he had seen no evidence to
support a claim by Trump that former President Barack Obama had
wiretapped his campaign headquarters in Trump Tower in New York.
    His unsubstantiated tweet distracted from the claims of
Russian interference in the election - as well as efforts by
Republicans to push through a healthcare overhaul.
    "It's just one more day delaying talking about policy," said
Ian Winer, director of trading at Wedbush Securities in Los
Angeles. "The market wants tax reform, and you need to get
healthcare done before you get tax reform."
    The SPDR S&P Retail ETF <XRT> fell 1.5 percent, all but
erasing its gains since Trump's election as investors fretted
that a border adjustment tax being pushed by Republicans in
Congress would lead to higher prices for consumer products.
    The S&P 500 is unchanged from a week ago, but since the
presidential election on Nov 8, it has surged 11 percent,
heightening concerns about valuations. The S&P 500 is trading at
nearly 18 times expected earnings, compared with a 10-year
average of 14, according to Thomson Reuters Datastream.
    The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> inched down 0.04
percent to end at 20,905.86 points, while the S&P 500 <.SPX>
lost 0.20 percent to 2,373.47.
    The Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> edged up 0.01 percent to finish
at 5,901.53 after briefly hitting an intraday record high.
    Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with the
financial index's <.SPSY> 0.9 percent fall leading the
decliners.
    Oil fell as investors continued to unwind bets on higher
prices. [nL3N1GX1CR]
    The U.S. Federal Reserve's conservative rate guidance is
also keeping the market in check. A host of Fed officials are
scheduled to speak this week, including Chair Janet Yellen on
Thursday.
    The Fed is on track to raise interest rates twice more this
year and it could be more or less aggressive depending on
inflation and fiscal policies from the Trump administration,
Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said on Monday. [nL2N1GX0G2]
    Last week, the central bank raised interest rates for the
first time this year but stuck to its outlook for two more hikes
this year, instead of three expected by the market. [nS0N1F002K]
    Apple <AAPL.O> rose 1.05 percent to a record-high close of
$141.46 after Cowen & Co upgraded its price target on the stock.
[nL2N1GW0I4]
    Caterpillar <CAT.N> rose 2.68 percent, providing the biggest
boost to the Dow, after it reported a smaller decline in sales
for the 3 months through February versus the period ending in
January. [nL2N1GX0XX]
    Walt Disney <DIS.N> rose 0.85 percent after the company's
"Beauty and the Beast" topped box-office sales. The stock was
among the biggest gainers on the Dow.
    Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a
1.40-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.58-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
    The S&P 500 posted 26 new 52-week highs and 3 new lows; the
Nasdaq Composite recorded 103 new highs and 38 new lows.
    About 5.8 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges,
compared with the 7.1 billion daily average over the last 20
sessions.

 (Additional reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by
Nick Zieminski and Dan Grebler)
 ((noel.randewich@tr.com; Twitter handle: @randewich)(415)(677
2542; Reuters Messaging:
noel.randewich.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: USA STOCKS/ (UPDATE 6)



This article appears in: World Markets , US Markets , US Markets , Stocks , Stocks , Stocks
Referenced Symbols: AAPL , CAT , DIS


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