* Chinese imports fall 20 pct in September
* Financials, industrials drag S&P
* Molson Coors shares surge on SABMiller-AB Inbev deal
* Twitter up after upbeat forecast, layoffs
* Indexes down: Dow 0.17 pct, S&P 0.35 pct, Nasdaq 0.33 pct (Updates prices)
By Abhiram Nandakumar
Oct 13 (Reuters) - Wall Street was lower in muted trading on Tuesday on renewed fears of slowing growth in China and a drop in financial stocks ahead of the start of bank earnings.
Data showed Chinese imports fell 20 percent in September due to weak domestic demand, indicating that growth in the world’s second-largest economy was sputtering.
“(News from) overseas seems to be drawing most of the attention here and we’ll see what the U.S. does to counteract that,” said Paul Springmeyer, senior portfolio manager at the private client reserve at U.S. Bank in Minneapolis.
U.S. stocks have rallied since a steep selloff in late-August, triggered by the devaluation of the yuan. The Dow is on track to post its eighth straight day of gains.
Both the Dow and the S&P 500 have gained in nine of the last 10 sessions as investors bet on the Federal Reserve keeping rates at near-zero levels until next year.
Even as the market awaits the first rate hike since 2006, investor focus has shifted to corporate results.
JPMorgan and Intel report after the close on Tuesday, with Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, General Electric reporting through the week.
But the outlook for third-quarter earnings is dour. S&P 500 companies are expected to report a 4.8 percent fall in profit, the biggest decline in six years, according to Thomson Reuters data.
At 1:12 p.m. ET (1712 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was down 28.74 points, or 0.17 percent, at 17,103.12, the S&P 500 was down 6.97 points, or 0.35 percent, at 2,010.49 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 15.85 points, or 0.33 percent, at 4,822.79.
All 10 major S&P sectors were down, with the financials leading the decliners.
Molson Coors rose 9.8 percent to $86.48 after SABMiller agreed to be bought by AB Inbev for about $106 billion. The deal is likely to result in the disposal of SAB’s 58 percent stake in its U.S. joint venture with Molson Coors.
Twitter rose 4.3 percent to $29.98 after the social media company said it expects third-quarter revenue to be at or above the high end of its forecast and that it was cutting 8 percent of its workforce.
JetBlue fell 7.1 percent to $24.96 after JPMorgan cut its rating on the stock to “neutral.”
Fed Governor Lael Brainard said on Monday the central bank should wait for clear signs that the U.S. economic recovery could weather global financial turbulence before raising interest rates.
Brainard’s comments were in contrast to that of other Fed policymakers, including Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer, who have said they could support a rate increase in December.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,874 to 1,073. On the Nasdaq, 1,605 issues fell and 1,060 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed 12 new 52-week highs and four new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 57 new highs and 29 new lows. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)