October 20, 2016 / 4:56 PM / 2 years ago

US STOCKS-AmEx leads Wall St recovery, tech stocks weigh on Nasdaq

* Verizon, Travelers fall on weak reports

* Technology sector dragged by eBay, Microsoft

* Dow up 0.07 pct, S&P down 0.07 pct, Nasdaq down 0.14 pct (Updates to early afternoon)

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

Oct 20 (Reuters) - Wall Street recovered sharply to trade flat on Thursday as a rally in American Express and health stocks helped counter a drop in Verizon and technology stocks.

AmEx soared 9.7 percent, on track for its best day in more than seven years, after its strong quarterly results and upbeat forecast.

The stock was the top boost to the S&P 500 as well as the Dow, where it added about 42 points, perfectly negating the impact of Verizon and Travelers together.

Verizon fell 2.6 percent, dragging the most on the S&P, after the wireless carrier reported a drop in quarterly revenue. Rival AT&T declined 1.4 percent.

The telecom services sector tumbled nearly 2 percent, set for its worst one-day percentage drop in just over one month.

The top drag on the Dow was Travelers, which fell 4.2 percent after the insurer posted a steep drop in profit.

EBay’s 11 percent tumble on a weak forecast and Microsoft’s 0.5 percent slip ahead of its results kept the Nasdaq in slightly negative territory.

The mostly dour reports could dent the chances of S&P 500 companies having snapped a four-quarter streak of declining profits.

“There hasn’t been a rash of earnings misses, but when you are in-line and you have lukewarm forward guidance, the market doesn’t get very excited about that, especially considering that expectations are already low,” said Chris Zaccarelli, Chief Investment Officer for Cornerstone Financial Partners.

At 12:22 pm. ET (1622 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 12.19 points, or 0.07 percent, at 18,214.81. The index had fallen as much as 0.4 percent earlier.

The S&P 500 was down 1.54 points, or 0.07 percent, at 2,142.75, recovering from a drop of as much as 0.5 percent.

The Nasdaq Composite was down 7.09 points, or 0.14 percent, at 5,239.33.

Seven of the 11 major S&P 500 indexes were lower, with modest gains in the healthcare and financials sectors, two of the worst performing sectors of this year.

The biggest boost to the health sector was Allergan, which gained 2.1 percent after an FDA panel backed the company’s drug for frequent nightly urination.

Stock futures were higher earlier in the day after a poll showed more people perceived Hillary Clinton won the third and final U.S. presidential debate than her rival Donald Trump.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,765 to 1,061. On the Nasdaq, 1,507 issues fell and 1,105 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed four new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 40 new highs and 48 new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)

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