* Healthcare stocks drop on Trump’s drug-pricing comment
* Wal-Mart up on plans to boost hiring in U.S. this year
* Dollar drops to near six-week low
* Indexes down: Dow 0.21 pct, S&P 0.19 pct, Nasdaq 0.48 pct (Updates to early afternoon)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
Jan 17 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell on Tuesday, weighed down by financial and healthcare stocks, as investors turned skittish following President-elect Donald Trump’s remarks on the dollar and drug pricing.
Biotech and pharma stocks declined after Trump told the Washington Post that he would target companies over drug pricing and that he was ready to unveil a plan to replace Obamacare.
The S&P 500 healthcare sector fell 0.7 percent, while Nasdaq biotech index slipped 1.8 percent.
Investors maybe concerned that Trump is “going after the Affordable Care Act and is burning a little political capital that might otherwise have been used for business friendly matters,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist of Wunderlich Equity Capital Markets in New York.
The dollar index fell by 0.7 percent to a near six-week low of 100.46 after Trump told the Wall Street Journal that the strength of the currency was hurting competitiveness of U.S. companies.
However, a 1.2 percent rise in consumer staples offset some of the losses. Wal-Mart rose 2.5 percent and gave the biggest boost to the Dow after the retailer said it would create 10,000 jobs in the United States this year.
U.S. stocks and the dollar have surged since Trump’s election on bets that he would usher in an era of economic growth through fiscal stimulus.
However, the rally has hit a speed bump ahead of the Jan. 20 Inauguration Day as investors are increasingly nervous of what his policies could mean to world trade.
A trade war between the U.S. and China and a strengthening dollar are among the biggest threats to a brightening global economic outlook, leading economists at the World Economic Forum in Davos felt.
At 12:30 a.m. ET (1730 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 42 points, or 0.21 percent, at 19,843.73. The S&P 500 was down 4.42 points, or 0.19 percent, at 2,270.22, while the Nasdaq Composite was down 26.94 points, or 0.48 percent, at 5,547.18.
Financial stocks, which have benefited the most in the post-election rally, dropped 1.7 percent and were the biggest losers among the 11 major S&P 500 sectors.
“The group is up 17 percent since the election, and they’ve all had at least one thing against them in the reports so far. So it’s not surprising to see some profit-taking,” Hogan said.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,498 to 1,415. On the Nasdaq, 1,921 issues fell and 900 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed seven new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 42 new highs and 14 new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D‘Silva)