US STOCKS-Wall Street slips after Tillerson exit

Reuters

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    * GE slides 4.3 pct after bearish J.P. Morgan note  
    * Big techs down more than 1 pct 
    * CPI data in line with estimates
    * Indexes down: Dow 0.4 pct, S&P 0.5 pct, Nasdaq 0.8 pct 

 (Updates to late afternoon, changes byline, adds NEW YORK
dateline)
    By April Joyner
    NEW YORK, March 13 (Reuters) - Wall Street's major indexes
fell on Tuesday as uncertainty in Washington stemming from the
dismissal of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson dragged down
stocks across sectors.
    U.S. President Donald Trump fired Tillerson after a series
of public rifts over issues including North Korea and Russia.
Steve Goldstein, a State Department undersecretary of state for
public affairs, was also fired, soon after releasing a statement
that Tillerson did not know why he was being pushed out.
 urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N1QV0JE
    Trump has tapped CIA Director Mike Pompeo, seen as loyal to
the president, to replace Tillerson.
    The influx of political news overshadowed earlier positive
economic news earlier. The markets had 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.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N1QU184
    "Pompeo is known to be a real hawk on trade and foreign
policy," said Jim Awad, senior managing director at Hartland &
Co in New York. "There's nobody to be a check and balance on
Trump. It's been unsettling to the market within the context of
what we see now in the economy, which is a favorable backdrop."
    The Dow Jones Industrial Average  .DJI  fell 104.61 points,
or 0.42 percent, to 25,074, the S&P 500  .SPX  lost 13.7 points,
or 0.49 percent, to 2,769.32 and the Nasdaq Composite  .IXIC 
dropped 62.19 points, or 0.82 percent, to 7,526.13.
    Tech  .SPLRCT  and financial  .SPSY  stocks were the biggest
laggards among the S&P 500's 11 major sectors. 
    Shares of Microsoft Corp  MSFT.O , Facebook Inc  FB.O  and
Alphabet Inc  GOOGL.O  fell between 1.3 percent and 2.3 percent.
    "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.
    Financial stocks were weighed as U.S. Treasury yields fell
in response to the CPI data and Tillerson's exit.  US/      
    Among individual stocks, General Electric Co  GE.N  fell 4.3
percent after J.P. Morgan 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 advancing ones on the NYSE by a
1.27-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.55-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
    The S&P 500 posted 43 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the
Nasdaq Composite recorded 173 new highs and 22 new lows.

 (Additional reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing
by Arun Koyyur and James Dalgleish)
 ((April.Joyner@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 7480;))

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