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Stocks slightly lower on tech as full U.S. tax plan vote looms

"Kimber" (2018-07-01)

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By Laila Kearney

NEW YORK, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Wall Street and other global stock markets fell slightly on Tuesday, with investors taking profits after recent highs in the tech sector before U.S. Republican lawmakers reach their goal of passing tax legislation.

U.S. stocks have công ty môi giới bất động sản hit successive highs ahead of the tax overhaul bill, but modest selling has crept into the market as most traders see the positive impact of cuts to corporate taxes already priced into the market.

The U.S. dollar regained some footing after early losses, aided by upbeat U.S. housing data.

The U.S. House of Representatives will vote in the afternoon and a Senate decision could come Tuesday night on what would be the biggest U.S. tax overhaul in more than 30 years.

The plan includes slashing the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent, which analysts say would likely increase profits, buybacks and dividend payouts.

Despite growing optimism about the tax bill's passage, a slump in technology stocks, led by Apple Inc, helped to drag markets down in afternoon trading. Some investors said they were pausing to see the voting results.

"There is high confidence that it will get passed, but there is a very narrow margin for error, within the Senate especially. So there's a little bit of a pause to see what's going to happen," said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer of Independent Advisor Alliance in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 12.6 points, or 0.05 percent, to 24,779.6, the S&P 500 lost 4.11 points, or 0.15 percent, to 2,686.05 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 25.76 points, or 0.37 percent, to 6,969.00.

Apple shares fell 0.9 percent after broker Instinet downgraded the stock to "neutral" from "buy" on doubts about iPhone X sales.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index lost 0.51 percent and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.13 percent.

The U.S. dollar, which slipped on tax plan doubts on Monday, began to flatten on data that showed domestic home construction rose to a 13-month peak in November, with single-family home construction hitting a 10-year high.

Still, the dollar index fell 0.24 percent by midday. The euro was up 0.52 percent to $1.1842.

"We think FX markets are less fazed by the bill. Whether it will induce a material shift in investment and the balance of payments remains unclear," said Mazen Issa, senior FX strategist at TD Securities in New York.

U.S. Treasury yields also rose and prices fell on the unexpectedly strong domestic housing data.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 21/32 in price to yield 2.468 percent, from 2.392 percent.

The 30-year bond last fell 1-20/32 in price to yield 2.8246 percent, from 2.744 percent.

Gold, which strengthens on the dollar's weakening, held firm above $1,260 an ounce. Still, the precious metal is on track to post its narrowest trading range of any quarter in a decade in the last three months of the year.

Spot gold percent to $1,260.80 an ounce. U.S. gold futures fell 0.13 percent to $1,263.80.

Copper rose 0.46 percent to $6,937.00 a tonne.

Oil was up slightly towards $64 a barrel, aided by an ongoing North Sea pipeline outage, supply cuts and expectations that U.S. crude inventories had fallen for a fifth week.

U.S. crude also rose 0.58 percent to $57.55 per barrel and Brent was last at $63.66, up 0.39 percent

Cryptocurrency bitcoin meanwhile was 4 percent lower at $18,110 on the Bitstamp exchange having roared to its latest record high over the weekend.

(Additional reporting by Marc Jones in London; Editing by Nick Zieminski and James Dalgleish)


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