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Dow Pauses After Six-Day Rally; Tech Stocks Finally Get a Boost

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were higher in early afternoon trading on Tuesday as tech stocks were back in demand after a post-election drubbing, while the Dow took a breather following a six-day rally.

The S&P technology sector, which had fallen about 3 percent since Donald Trump's shock victory, rose 1.19 percent.

Traders work on the floor of the NYSE
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shortly after the opening bell in New York City, NY, U.S. November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson REUTERS

Tech giants Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet provided the biggest boost to the S&P and the Dow.

"The underlying fundamentals of the economy hasn't really changed and if the economy is strong that will lead to more capital spending which should benefit tech stocks," said Mark Watkins, regional investment manager at the Private Client Group at U.S. Bank in Park City, Utah.

Both the S&P and the Dow rallied in the past week since Trump's victory on expectations of higher fiscal spending and lower regulations in the financial and environmental sectors.

However, investors remain uncertain about the details of Trump's policies and are also keeping an eye on key appointments in his administration.

"Last week's rally was basically a digestion of Trump's win and now that we're past the digestion phase, the market is taking a bit of a breather and is waiting to see what lies ahead under a Republican government," said Watkins.

Just after midday ET, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 20.82 points, at 18,847.87. The S&P 500 was up 6.67 points, at 2,170.87; and the Nasdaq Composite was up 37.71 points, at 5,256.11.

Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with the energy index's 2.11 percent rise leading the advancers.

High dividend paying sectors such as utilities and telecommunications also rose following a steep selloff in the past few days.

The financial index, which rose more than 10 percent since the election, fell 1 percent as traders cashed in on profits.