MARKET SNAPSHOT: U.S. Stock Market Turns South, As Financial Stocks Weigh On Wall Street

By Mark DeCambre and Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Oil prices under fresh pressure, with a trade below $48 a barrel feared for West Texas Intermediate

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The U.S. stock-index gauges on Wednesday turned decidedly lower in late-morning trade as a slump in bank shares and a lackluster reading of home sales weighed on investor sentiment.

Investors also were awaiting the Federal Reserve's anecdotal report on economic conditions at its districts, known as the Beige Book.

The S&P 500 index , fell 8 points, or 0.3%, with the financial sector, down 1.3%, representing the worst performer among the broad-market gauge's 11 sectors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was trading 72 points lower, or 0.4%, at 20,953, with shares of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), dragging blue chips firmly into the red. Combined pair of banks were cutting 62 points from the Dow.

The Nasdaq Composite Index , meanwhile, after briefly touching an intraday high of 6,221.99, was trading 38 points, or 0.6%, lower at 6,164.

Need to know:Tech rally overdone? The case for buying other stock sectors now (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tech-rally-overdone-the-case-for-buying-other-stock-sectors-now-2017-05-31)

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With one session remaining in May, the Nasdaq has been the best-performing major index for the month, up 2%, followed by a 0.9% gain for the S&P 500. Both indexes are set for their best monthly percentage gains since February 2017. The Dow is hanging on to a meager gain of less than 0.1%.

U.S. stocks finished modestly lower on Tuesday driven by losses for energy shares, which continued their trend lower Wednesday, with U.S. crude-oil prices threatening to trade below $48 a barrel.

Read:This money manager sees no end in sight for bull market (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/this-money-manager-sees-no-end-in-sight-for-bull-market-2017-05-30).

Data ahead:Pending home sales index (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/pending-home-sales-decline-again-deepening-housing-market-funk-2017-05-31) from the National Association of Realtors fell 1.3% to a level of 109.8 from a reduction in the March reading. The index was 3.3% lower than a year ago in April, marking the first yearly decline since December. Economists had forecast a 0.5% increase in April.

The Federal Reserve's Beige Book is due at 2 p.m. Eastern.

Among Fed speakers, Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan is due to speak at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York at 8 a.m. Eastern. San Francisco Fed President John Williams will give a speech on "global economic and financial challenges" at the Bank of Korea International Conference 2017 in Seoul, South Korea at 8:10 p.m. Eastern.

Stocks to watch: Shares of Michael Kors Holdings Inc.(KORS) dropped 10% in after maker of high-end accessories and clothing posted a loss for its fiscal fourth quarter (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/michael-kors-shares-slide-7-premarket-after-company-swings-to-loss-2017-05-31) and spoke of a challenging market.

Vera Bradley Inc.(VRA) was trading 5.7% higher, despite a weak quarterly report.

Other markets: Stocks in Asia had a mixed day, while Chinese equities inched higher after a gauge of manufacturing beat forecasts (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/chinas-manufacturing-beats-forecast-stays-steady-2017-05-30). European stocks traded higher. The FTSE 100 index also showed solid gains, tilting higher after trading in the red on fresh parliamentary election jitters (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/theresa-may-could-lose-majority-in-uk-election-fresh-research-finds-2017-05-31).

The pound was trading around $1.28 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/pound-falls-again-after-pollster-predicts-may-will-lose-majority-in-election-2017-05-31), in up-and-down trade for sterling ahead of the coming U.K. election.

Gold prices were trading higher as the dollar slumped 0.3%, giving runway for assets priced in the currency.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 31, 2017 10:15 ET (14:15 GMT)