* Fed’s highlights global growth concerns, spooks markets
* Bernstein downgrade hits Disney, leads rout in tech stocks
* Apple falls on report of declining phone sales in China
* S&P tech, finance index turn negative for the year
* Indexes down: Dow 1.54 pct, S&P 1.55 pct, Nasdaq 2.27 pct (Updates to early afternoon)
By Tanya Agrawal
Aug 20 (Reuters) - Wall Street plunged in afternoon trading on Thursday, pushing the Dow and the S&P into the red for the year, after the Federal Reserve highlighted global growth concerns and sparking a sell-off in almost all sectors.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell to a more than six-month low and was on track to spend its 14th full session in a row below its 200-day moving average, a key technical level.
The Nasdaq composite and the S&P 500 fell to their lowest in more than a month. Nine of the 10 major S&P sectors were lower, with six of the 10 down more than 1 percent.
Utilities stocks, sought by investors when Treasuries yields are seen remaining lower for longer, outperformed the benchmark index with a 0.45 percent gain.
The Fed, in minutes of its latest meeting released on Wednesday, widely agreed last month the economy was nearing the point where interest rates should move higher, but worried lagging inflation and a weak global economy posed too big a risk to commit to “liftoff.”
The comments led traders to scale back bets that rates would be raised in September.
“Today’s movement is an illustration of a dramatic shift in sentiment,” said Tom Digenan, head of U.S. equities at UBS Global Asset Management.
“The Fed minutes certainly added to the fear factor. Any negative or even neutral news adds to it. Neutral is the new negative in this environment.”
At 13:11 p.m. ET (1711 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was down 266.81 points, or 1.54 percent, at 17,081.92.
The S&P 500 was down 32.33 points, or 1.55 percent, at 2,047.28 and the Nasdaq composite was down 114.11 points, or 2.27 percent, at 4,904.94.
The consumer discretionary index fell 2.1 percent, its intraday steepest drop in nearly 2 months, and led the decliners among the S&P sectors.
Disney slumped 5 percent to $101.08 and Time Warner fell 3.9 percent to $74.80, leading a rout in media stocks after Bernstein downgraded the two stocks and cut its price target on others, citing a massive structural upheaval in the industry.
Disney was the biggest drag on the Dow Jones industrial average and the consumer discretionary index.
Another drag on the consumer index was Netflix, which has been the best performing S&P 500 stock this year. The stock was down than 7 percent, on track for its steepest intraday decline since mid-October.
Apple fell nearly 2 percent, weighing the most on the Nasdaq and the S&P, after a Gartner report that said China smartphone sales fell for the first time ever in the second quarter. Apple counts China as a key growth market.
Apple also dragged on the S&P tech index, which moved into negative territory for the year after its 1.9 percent decline.
One bright spot in tech stocks was NetApp, up 4.3 percent at $31.05 after the data storage equipment maker’s results beat expectations.
The finance index also moved into negative territory for the year, after falling 1.63 percent on speculation that the Fed would not raise interest rates in September.
Bank of America, down 3.5 percent, Citigroup, down 2.5 percent and JPMorgan, down 1.5 percent, led the decliners in the index.
Nortek soared 19.7 percent to $88.77 after the Wall Street Journal reported that United Technologies was in talks to buy the residential products maker. UTX fell 1.8 percent to $96.43.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 2,400 to 596. On the Nasdaq, 2,216 issues fell and 551 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed three new 52-week highs and 31 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 14 new highs and 153 new lows. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)