US STOCKS-Wall St eases after Dow, S&P records as energy declines

lunes 23 de febrero de 2015 14:20 GYT

* Existing home sales hit 9-month low

* Goldman cuts Boeing to sell rating

* Valeant, Salix agree to merger

* Indexes off: Dow 0.27 pct, S&P 0.22 pct, Nasdaq 0.06 pct (Updates to midday)

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, Feb 23 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were down slightly in midday trading Monday as lower oil prices dragged down energy shares, pulling the Dow and S&P 500 off recent record levels.

Oil prices fell, with WTI crude off $1.30 at $49.50 a barrel on oversupply concerns and a stronger dollar, pushing the S&P energy index down 0.6 percent.

Housing stocks lost ground, with the PHLX housing sector index off 0.7 percent after existing home sales fell sharply to their lowest in nine months in January.

Investors were also reluctant to make big bets before Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's semiannual testimony this week on the economy and monetary policy before the Senate Banking Committee, which will be closely watched for any indications on the timing of an interest rate hike.   Continuación...