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US STOCKS-Wall St dips in dramatic session as health bill pulled

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* Republicans pull healthcare plan in blow to Trump * S&P 500 posts biggest weekly decline of the year * Micron jumps after forecasts beat estimates, helps Nasdaq * Dow down 0.29 pct, S&P up 0.08 pct, Nasdaq up 0.19 pct (Updates with close of U.S. market) By Lewis Krauskopf March 24 (Reuters) – A dramatic session on Wall Street endedwith stocks slightly lower on Friday as they pared losses inlate-afternoon trading after Republicans pulled their bill tooverhaul the U.S. healthcare system. The benchmark S&P 500 shot up briefly into positiveterritory before falling back into the red as Republicans pulledthe legislation due to a shortage of votes just before themarkets closed, leaving investors to assess how the healthcarebill’s failure would affect President Donald Trump’s broadereconomic agenda. Investors had worried earlier this week that the failure ofthe bill, which would have dismantled the law known asObamacare, would prove an ominous sign for Trump’s ability topush through his economic agenda, including tax reform. But some analysts and investors have seen a failure of thebill as a catalyst to bring forward action on tax reform inparticular. “Now that they’ve taken the healthcare issue off the table,I think the market is more optimistic that they can do otherthings that are more doable that are not so complicated, such asregulatory reform and lowering taxes,” said Margaret Patel,senior portfolio manager at Wells Fargo Asset Management inBoston. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 59.86 points,or 0.29 percent, to end at 20,596.72, the S&P 500 lost1.98 points, or 0.08 percent, to 2,343.98 and the NasdaqComposite added 11.05 points, or 0.19 percent, to5,828.74. The back-and-forth over the bill this week has led to someof the most volatile trading Wall Street has seen since Trump’selection in November. For the week, the S&P 500 fell 1.4percent, its worst weekly decline of the year. “This is now an indication that the president’s agenda isprobably going to be more ambitious than Congress can manage,”said Peter Kenny, senior market strategist at Global MarketsAdvisory Group, in New York. “It is probably going to mean thatequity markets are going to have to factor in a degree ofdysfunction that investors were hoping they wouldn’t have to.” The S&P 500 has climbed 9.6 percent since Trump’s election,notching a series of record highs along the way. But the rallyhas stalled recently, and Tuesday’s 1.2 percent drop set offconcerns about the beginning of a larger fall. “The economy and earnings were doing better since before theelection,” said Paul Zemsky, chief investment officer formulti-asset strategies and solutions at Voya InvestmentManagement in New York. “If people want to drop the S&P by 300points because this doesn’t pass, I and others will be downthere to buy it.” Shares of hospital operators finished sharply higher, withTenet Healthcare up 7.4 percent. The potentialdismantling of Obamacare has pressured hospital stocks overconcerns the benefits the companies gained from coverageexpansion would diminish. In corporate news, Micron Technology jumped 7.4percent after the chipmaker’s revenue and profit forecasts beatexpectations. The stock was the biggest percentage gainer on theS&P and helped lift the Nasdaq. GameStop tumbled 13.6 percent after the company’s profit projection fell below estimates. Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a1.07-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.30-to-1 ratio favored advancers. The S&P 500 posted 19 new 52-week highs and three new lows;the Nasdaq Composite recorded 58 new highs and 40 new lows. About 6.2 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges,below the 7.1 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions. (Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos, Sam Forgione and ChuckMikolajczak in New York and Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editingby Nick Zieminski and James Dalgleish)

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