US STOCKS-Wall St pares losses after Cohn resignation rumor knock-down

NEW YORK, Aug 17 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks pared losses in choppy, late-morning trading Thursday as rumors circulating that Gary Cohn is resigning as director of the National Economic Council were called "100 (percent) false" by an Axios reporter on Twitter.

Stocks tumbled earlier and volume spiked as speculation over Cohn circulated, strategists said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 123.7 points, or 0.56 percent, to 21,901.17, the S&P 500 lost 15.55 points, or 0.63 percent, to 2,452.56 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 54.30 points, or 0.86 percent, to 6,290.81. (Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)