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US STOCKS-Wall St trims losses as investors seek bargains

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* Financial sector off lows, gold comes off one-month high * Healthcare only sector in the black * Indexes down: Dow 0.29 pct, S&P 0.22 pct, Nasdaq 0.01 pct (Updates to early afternoon) By Yashaswini Swamynathan March 27 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks were well off session lowson Monday as investors sought bargains after a rough start onWall Street following the defeat of President Donald Trump’sfirst major legislative action. Republicans were forced to pull a healthcare bill on Fridayafter failing to gather the votes needed in Congress to repealand replace the Affordable Care Act also called Obamacare. The bill’s failure led investors to question Trump’s abilityto deliver on his ambitious agenda of tax cuts and simplerregulations – key catalysts that have sparked a record-settingrally on Wall Street. “It is less of a panic sell and more of digesting theinformation and looking beyond the healthcare reform act to thenext bit of information, which is going to be tax reform andspending on infrastructure,” said Mark Watkins, regionalinvestment manager at the Private Client Group at U.S. Bank. “With the economy continuing to improve, I would look at anypullback as a buying opportunity at this point in time,” Watkinssaid. At 12:49 p.m. ET (1649 GMT), the Dow Jones IndustrialAverage was down 59.46 points, or 0.29 percent, at20,537.26, the S&P 500 was down 5.17 points, or 0.22percent, at 2,338.81 and the Nasdaq Composite was down0.34 points, or 0.01 percent, at 5,828.40. The S&P 500 financial index came off a two-month low onMonday, while other major S&P sectors trimmed losses. Healthcare was the only sector in the black,propelled by gains in drugmakers and hospital operators. Prices of safe-haven gold pared some gains after hitting aone-month high, while the CBOE Volatility index, WallStreet’s fear gauge, eased from the day’s high of 15.11. Still, the Dow remained on track for the eighth straight dayof losses – its longest losing streak since 2011. Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,754to 1,127. On the Nasdaq, 1,511 issues fell and 1,248 advanced. The S&P 500 index showed 11 new 52-week highs and sevenlows, while the Nasdaq recorded 44 new highs and 45 new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing byAnil D’Silva)

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