* Allergan up after confirming buyout talks with Pfizer
* GoPro falls after results
* NXP Semiconductors slides after bleak forecast
* Indexes down: Dow 0.26 pct, S&P 0.13 pct, Nasdaq 0.34 pct (Updates to early afternoon)
By Abhiram Nandakumar
Oct 29 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks eased on Thursday after the Federal Reserve rekindled expectations of an interest rate hike in December and data suggested the economy was ready.
The Fed, which kept rates unchanged at its policy meeting that ended Wednesday, downplayed concerns about global growth and indicated confidence in the U.S. job market’s recovery.
Data on Thursday underscored the strength in the labor market, showing that new applications for unemployment benefits remained near levels last seen in 1973.
U.S. GDP growth braked sharply in the third quarter, hurt by an inventory buildup and a slowdown in industrials, but economists expect a pick up in the current quarter given strong domestic fundamentals.
“What is positive about the GDP number is that it showed consumers are strong,” said Janelle Nelson, portfolio analyst at RBC Wealth Management in Minneapolis.
Nelson attributed the strength to lower gasoline prices, improved housing trends and the strength in the labor market trickling down to consumers’ spending patterns.
Odds of a December hike increased to 43 percent as of Thursday morning from the 38 percent minutes before the release of the statement, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch program.
At 12:19 p.m. ET (1419 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was down 46.13 points, or 0.26 percent, at 17,733.39, the S&P 500 was down 2.62 points, or 0.13 percent, at 2,087.73 and the Nasdaq Composite index was down 17.15 points, or 0.34 percent, at 5,078.54.
Seven of the 10 major S&P sectors were lower, with the interest rate-sensitive utilities sector’s 1.3 percent fall leading the decliners.
Still, the three indexes were on track for their best month in four years, helped in part by strong results from blue-chips.
Nearly 60 percent of the S&P 500 companies have reported so far. Analysts now expect overall third-quarter profit to decline a modest 1.7 percent, compared with the 4.9 percent drop forecast at the start of the earnings season, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Allergan’s shares shot up 7.9 percent to $310.01 after the Botox maker confirmed it was in buyout talks with Pfizer. Pfizer was down 2.2 percent.
GoPro slumped 13.5 percent to $26.11 after the action camera maker posted disappointing results.
NXP Semiconductors sank 18.2 percent to $74.34 after its bleak forecast. The slide took down other chipmakers, with the broader semiconductor index down 2.8 pct.
Starbucks, Western Union, LinkedIn and Electronic Arts report after the close.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,813 to 1,129. On the Nasdaq, 1,473 issues fell and 1,155 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed 24 new 52-week highs and five new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 88 new highs and 50 new lows. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)