March 7, 2019 / 4:37 PM / 16 days ago

US STOCKS-Dovish ECB stance pushes Wall St to fourth day of losses

* ECB pushes rate hike to 2020, offers new loans to banks

* Financials weigh the most among S&P sectors

* Allergan rises after ‘widely expected’ failure of drug

* Kroger tumbles after earnings forecast disappoints

* Indexes fall: Dow 0.94 pct, S&P 0.76 pct, Nasdaq 0.80 pct (Updates prices, adds details)

By Medha Singh

March 7 (Reuters) - Wall Street fell for the fourth straight session on Thursday, weighed down by financial and technology stocks, as investors were spooked by the European Central Bank’s (ECB) return to pump-priming loans to stimulate a struggling euro zone economy.

The ECB also pushed out its first post-crisis rate hike to at least next year, adding to a cocktail of concerns over trade tensions, Brexit uncertainty and global growth risks, which have weighed on markets over the past year.

U.S. 10-year Treasury yields ticked lower to hit a one-week low at 2.6465 percent. The interest rate sensitive financial sector dropped 1.21 percent, the most among the S&P sectors weighed by a fall in Wall Street’s big lenders.

Bank of America Corp, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup Inc fell between 1.2 percent and 1.6 percent.

ECB President Mario Draghi also announced cuts to the central bank’s growth and inflation targets and said, “We are (in) a period of continued weakness and pervasive uncertainty.”

“ECB is saying we need to prop up the economy by offering cheaper loans and that can only happen when you have a problem with the economy, when the economy is slowing,” Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

“You have yields going down, which means the Fed might have to stay on hold even longer than what they are anticipating.”

Also pushing markets lower were technology companies , which slipped 0.75 percent, hurt by a fall in marquee names including Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp.

“Tech stocks are high-beta and as a result they tend to lead the markets and today happens to be one of the lower days,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.

At 11:13 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 241.16 points, or 0.94 percent, at 25,432.30. The S&P 500 was down 21.01 points, or 0.76 percent, at 2,750.44 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 59.68 points, or 0.80 percent, at 7,446.24.

Only the defensive utilities and real estate sectors were trading higher.

U.S. stocks have taken a pause this week after a nearly 10 percent rally in the S&P 500 this year, which was powered by optimism over trade negotiations and a dovish stance by the Federal Reserve.

Among stocks, Kroger Co tumbled 10.5 percent after the supermarket chain projected annual earnings below Wall Street forecasts.

Allergan Plc rose 3.8 percent despite its depression drug failing three late-stage studies as analysts called the failure widely expected.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 2.29-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.92-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 16 new 52-week highs and five new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 10 new highs and 36 new lows. (Reporting by Medha Singh and Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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