* Britain suspends referendum campaigning
* Apple drags all three indexes
* Indexes down: Dow 0.27 pct, S&P 0.31 pct, Nasdaq 0.56 pct (Updates to open)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
June 17 (Reuters) - A drop in Apple dragged down all three major U.S. stock indexes on Friday even as investors remained wary of global economic growth worries and an impending referendum on Britain’s European Union membership.
Britain will vote on June 23, an event that has weaved in uncertainty across the globe, battering stocks and bond yields for the past week and spiking demand for safe-haven assets such as gold and the yen.
However, the murder of a pro-“Remain” British politician on Thursday led to the suspension of campaigning for the referendum.
Analysts said the incident could rally a sentiment supporting Britain to remain in the EU, at a time when the “Leave” campaign was gathering momentum.
Risky assets such as oil were back in favor on Friday, with the commodity rising more than 2.5 percent, the first time in seven days. The S&P energy sector was the only index in positive territory.
“Today I expect bit of a flattish day.... We are probably going to drift along until there’s a decision. If the UK exits, people are going to be very panicky about what will happen,” said Phil Davis, chief executive officer of PSW Investment in New Jersey.
Apple fell 1.5 percent to $96.07 after Bloomberg reported that the tech giant may have to halt the sales of its latest iPhones in Beijing after the devices were found to have violated a Chinese rival’s patent.
At 9:40 a.m. ET (1440 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 47.6 points, or 0.27 percent, at 17,685.5.
The S&P 500 was down 6.35 points, or 0.31 percent, at 2,071.64.
The Nasdaq Composite was down 27.21 points, or 0.56 percent, at 4,817.70.
Nine of the 10 major S&P sectors were lower, led by a 0.61 percent fall in the information technology index
Google’s parent Alphabet was down 1.89 percent at $710.32.
The three major indexes have managed to eke out gains only once this week.
The U.S. Federal Reserve left short-term interest rates unchanged on Wednesday and cut its forecast for economic growth, but stock markets’ reaction to the largely expected outcome has been muted.
U.S. housing starts in May fell to a less-than-expected 1.16 million in May while analysts had expected 1.15 million.
Oracle rose 1.4 percent to $39.20 after the company reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue. The stock gave the biggest boost to the S&P.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,506 to 1,178. On the Nasdaq, 1,258 issues fell and 988 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed 7 new 52-week highs and 2 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 13 new highs and 11 new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru)