Wall Street stumbles as health stocks fall

Feb 02, 2018, 21:06
Wall Street stumbles as health stocks fall

Stock indexes ended slightly higher on Wall Street after overcoming a brief stumble in the afternoon.

Investors are watching to see if the US Federal Reserve, which is in the middle of a two-day meeting in Washington, will signal when interest rates might rise again. Concerns are starting to enter the market that inflation could be catching up and higher interest rates could pour cold water on the bull run.

Adding to the mix, Amazon joined forces Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase to announce the creation of a company to address runaway health care costs.

The technology sector's 0.62-percent drop weighed the most on the markets as all three major US indexes retreated from highs and their strongest 4-week run since 2016.

The S&P 500 Healthcare index was the day's biggest loser among the 11 major sectors, dropping by 2.13 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average slumped 339 points, to 26,100.

The S&P 500 posted 17 new 52-week highs and four new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 41 new highs and 43 new lows.

In another sign of a strong labor market, an ADP report showed the USA private sector added more jobs than expected in January.

USA stocks jumped at the open on Wednesday, after two days of steep losses, boosted by a surge in Boeing and a controversy-free State of the Union speech by President Donald Trump.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is one of several indices created by Wall Street Journal editor and Dow Jones & Company co-founder Charles Dow.

Electronic Arts jumped 10.4 pct to record high after it gave a upbeat forecast, which also sent shares of fellow videogame makers Activision Blizzard and Take-Two to all-time highs. Shares of Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, however, rose 1.6 percent and 0.25 percent, respectively.

The Dow is down 467.32 points, or 1.8 percent. On the Nasdaq, 1,531 issues fell and 1,002 advanced.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.74 percent.

US stock indexes opened slightly lower on Monday, pulling back from records ahead of a raft of corporate earnings this week.

Earlier, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.9% as gains accelerated near the end of trading, finishing the month up 9.9% - its best month since April 2015.

Since the Fed's last meeting, the labor market has remained strong, the dollar has weakened and commodity prices have risen, which combined should point to tighter monetary policy ahead, analysts say.

The S&P 500 is up 150.20 points, or 5.6 percent. 17 and its worst two-session percentage slump since September 9, 2016.