October 12, 2016 / 3:32 PM / 2 years ago

US STOCKS-S&P, Dow pare losses; tech stocks drag down Nasdaq

* Fed minutes to be released at 2:00 p.m. ET

* Oil prices fall over 1 pct

* Cisco, Microsoft drag down Nasdaq

* Cybersecurity stocks fall after Fortinet cuts forecast

* Indexes down: Dow 0.07 pct, S&P 0.01 pct, Nasdaq 0.2 pct (Adds details, comments, updates prices)

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

Oct 12 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Dow pared losses on Wednesday as financial stocks rose in anticipation of the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s September policy meeting.

However, the Nasdaq was dragged down by technology stocks, including Cisco and Microsoft.

While the U.S. central bank did not raise interest rates last month, the highlight of the meeting was that three members dissented the decision. The minutes will provide clues on the possibility of a hike this year.

Traders have priced in small odds of a rate increase in November as the meeting falls days ahead of the U.S. presidential elections. The odds rise to nearly 71 percent for December, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

The S&P 500 financial index rose 0.56 percent, boosted by gains in Berkshire Hathaway and Wells Fargo .

“We’ve had a drop in commodity prices and some lackluster earnings yesterday and that is an overhang in the market,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Equity Capital Markets in New York.

“Today the markets are trading orderly ahead of the Fed minutes, which is likely to solidify that we are going to move in December.”

Wall Street sold off on Tuesday after the first rush of quarterly results kicked off the earnings season on a sour note, and investors digested possible changing dynamics for the upcoming U.S. elections.

Overall S&P 500 earnings are currently expected to fall 0.7 percent in the third quarter, marking the fifth quarter of negative earnings in a row, according to Thomson Reuters data.

At 10:57 a.m. ET (1457 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 12.53 points, or 0.07 percent, at 18,116.13.

The S&P 500 was down 0.16 points, or 0.01 percent, at 2,136.57 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 10.53 points, or 0.2 percent, at 5,236.26.

Six of the 11 major S&P 500 indexes were higher, with utilities rising the most by 0.61 percent.

Energy stocks were lower as oil prices fell more than 1 percent after OPEC reported its September oil output at eight-year highs.

Fortinet shares plunged 12.2 percent after the cybersecurity company cut third-quarter revenue and profit forecast. Shares of rivals Palo Alto and Fireeye also fell.

Barracuda Networks soared 13 percent after the computer security and storage firm’s quarterly revenue beat analysts’ estimates.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,433 to 1,326. On the Nasdaq, 1,367 issues fell and 1,155 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed one new 52-week highs and one new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 17 new highs and 35 new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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