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(Reuters) – U.S. stocks were higher in early afternoon trading on Wednesday, helped by gains in healthcare and technology sectors.
Facebook and Microsoft were among the top gainers on the SP technology index, which is the best performing sector this year, gaining about 38 percent.
The sector, however, has come under pressure in the past five trading sessions, falling the most on Tuesday after reports of tepid iPhone X demand took a toll on Apple shares and its suppliers.
“Ever since September, technology stocks have had some momentum left behind them,” said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.
“After a last couple of days – Apple and its suppliers were down and perhaps that was an overreaction – people are buying what they hope to be bargains.”
Trading volumes were muted in the holiday-shortened week between Christmas and New Year.
At 12:24 p.m. ET (1724 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 20.94 points, or 0.08 percent, at 24,767.15 and the SP 500 was up 1.74 points, or 0.06 percent, at 2,682.24.
The Nasdaq Composite was up 6.93 points, or 0.1 percent, at 6,943.18.
Oil prices dipped after hitting a near two-and-a-half year high in the previous session, pushing down the SP energy index by about 0.3 percent. [O/R]
Concho Resources and Devon Energy dropped about 2 percent each, the biggest percentage losers on the index.
UnitedHealth and Johnson Johnson rose 0.5 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively, helping the healthcare sector rise 0.23 percent.
Tesla shares slipped more than 1 percent after brokerage KeyBanc lowered it estimates for Model 3 deliveries to roughly 5,000 units from 15,000 units for the fourth quarter.
Shares of wireless-charging technology developer Energous Corp soared about 80 percent after it got certification for its wireless charging transmitter.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,702 to 1,082. On the Nasdaq, 1,746 issues rose and 1,065 fell.
Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva