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US: Stocks dip as Republicans unveil health plan


[NEW YORK] US stocks dipped early Tuesday as congressional Republicans unveiled a controversial health bill that traders worry could delay enactment of tax cuts and other growth measures.

The American Health Care Act would dismantle several core aspects of former president Barack Obama's health law, fulfilling a campaign pledge by President Donald Trump, but also potentially disrupting momentum for tax cuts.

Optimism about Mr Trump's planned tax cuts and stimulus spending were a catalyst in a series of stock market records since the November election.

About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 20,917.67, down 0.2 per cent.

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The broad-based S&P 500 lost 0.3 per cent at 2,368.76, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.3 per cent to 5,833.66.

In recent days, more analysts have begun to discuss a longer time horizon to implement key aspects of Mr Trump's agenda. Barclays cited the health policy debate, as well as probes into Mr Trump's relationship with Russia, as a reason to revise its forecasts for 2017 and 2018.

"The administration continues to spend time and political capital in ways we did not anticipate," Barclays said in the note last week.

Nimble Storage surged 45.2 per cent after Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced it reached a deal to buy the data storage company for US$1 billion. Hewlett Packard Enterprise lost 0.1 per cent.

Dick's Sporting Goods slumped 5.6 per cent after reporting earnings that missed its forecast following US$93 million in charges related to writedowns and store closing charges.