US STOCKS-Wall Street slips as technology stocks lag


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    * GE slides 4.4 pct after bearish J.P.Morgan note  
    * Big techs down more than 1 pct 
    * CPI data in line with estimates
    * Indexes down: Dow 0.1 pct, S&P 0.22 pct, Nasdaq 0.59 pct 

 (Updates to afternoon)
    By Sruthi Shankar
    March 13 (Reuters) - Losses in technology stocks weighed on
Wall Street's main indexes on Tuesday as investors booked
profits following the recent strong run and uncertainty in
Washington after another high-profile exit from the Trump
    Shares of Microsoft  MSFT.O , Facebook  FB.O  and Alphabet
 GOOGL.O  fell more than 1 percent and were top losers on the
S&P 500 and the Nasdaq. 
    Technology stocks  .SPLRCT  have rallied 11 percent this
year, the most among major 11 S&P sectors.
    U.S. President Donald Trump fired Secretary of State Rex
Tillerson after a series of public rifts over issues including
North Korea and Russia.*:nL1N1QV0JE
    Tillerson's exit comes just a week after the departure of
chief economic adviser Gary Cohn in the wake of a surprise turn
toward new trade tariffs on steel and aluminum.
    Trump also said he was considering conservative commentator
Larry Kudlow "very strongly" to become his next top economic
    "Technology rallied hard yesterday and last week, and there
is profit-taking, but it's just a short-term pressure," said Ken
Polcari, director of the NYSE floor division at O'Neil
Securities in New York.
    "There's a lot of noise coming out of Washington over all
these changes that's causing the markets to really not focus."  
    The markets opened higher after data showed U.S. consumer
price growth slowed in February, an indication that an
anticipated pickup in inflation probably will be only gradual.*:nL1N1QU184
    "It certainly presents some more difficult questions for the
central bank if they look to embark on a more aggressive
interest rate hiking cycle next week," said Aaron Kohli,
interest rate strategist, BMO Capital Markets in New York.
    "How do they expect to get inflation materially higher if
they are already starting to see some signs of spotty weakness?"
    At 12:45 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average  .DJI 
was down 25.78 points, or 0.1 percent, at 25,152.83, the S&P 500
 .SPX  was down 6.01 points, or 0.22 percent, at 2,777.01 and
the Nasdaq Composite  .IXIC  was down 44.76 points, or 0.59
percent, at 7,543.57.
    U.S. Treasury yields fell in response to the data and
Tillerson's exit.  US/      
    Among stocks, General Electric  GE.N  fell about 4 percent
after JPMorgan cut its price target on the stock to $11 from
$14, saying the industrial conglomerate was not a "safety stock"
in a volatile market.
    Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,462
to 1,349. On the Nasdaq, 1,634 issues fell and 1,176 advanced.

 (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun
 ((; within U.S. +1 646 223
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