US stocks slip as drugmakers pull health care companies down


NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are slipping Friday as investors take a pause following some huge moves since last week’s presidential election. Drugmakers and other health care companies are taking the largest losses. Retailers Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch are dropping after they gave weak quarterly reports, while discount retailer Ross Stores is climbing.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average slid 37 points, or 0.2 percent, to 18,867 as of 12:25 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 5 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,181. The Nasdaq composite touched a record high, but turned lower and gave up 13 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,321.

The losses weren’t large, but they represented the biggest decline for stocks since Nov. 3. At that time, the market was enduring a nine-day slide.

QUEASY FEELING: Losses for drug companies weighed down health care stocks. Botox maker Allergan retreated $3.92, or 2 percent, to $196.07 and biotech giant Amgen fell $2.30, or 1.6 percent, to $145.06. Hepatitis C drugmaker Gilead Sciences shed $1.29, or 1.7 percent, to $74.29 and Merck lost 73 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $61.97.

HOME GOODS GO BAD: Companies that sell common household products are also moving lower. Procter & Gamble gave up $1.04, or 1.3 percent, to $82.03 and drugstore operator Walgreens Boots Alliance slumped 98 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $83.01. Those companies tend to pay hefty dividends, and those are less appealing to investors in times of higher inflation.

FUN IN THE SUN: Investors approved the combination of electric car maker Tesla Motors and solar power company SolarCity. The deal, first proposed by Tesla CEO Elon Musk in June, has gotten a chilly reception on Wall Street. Analysts wondered why Tesla would want to take on SolarCity while it’s building a big battery factory in Nevada and also preparing to launch its first mass-market car, the Model 3, due out at the end of 2017. Shares of both companies dropped in the ensuing months.

Tesla slumped $1.55 to $187.11 and SolarCity rose 19 cents to $20.59.

RETAIL: Teen clothing company Abercrombie & Fitch fell $2.42, or 14.3 percent, to $14.51 after it reported weak sales and a smaller profit than analysts had expected. Gap’s said fewer people visited its stores heading into the holiday season. Its stock gave up $4.93, or 16.1 percent, to $25.78. Sporting goods Hibbett Sports retailer cut its annual forecasts after a weak third-quarter report. It dropped $5.40, or 11.9 percent, to $39.90.

Shoppers are not buying as many clothes and moving toward discount chains. That trend continued as discount retailer Ross Stores rose $2.89, or 4.4 percent, to $68.42 after it posted a better-than-expected profit and sales.

DOLLAR SEEING GREEN: Already at its highest mark since early 2003, the dollar continued to climb. It’s around annual highs against the euro and six-month highs against the yen. The dollar rose to 110.51 yen from 109.89 yen. The euro fell to $1.0592 from $1.0626.

BONDS: Investors continued to sell U.S. government bonds at a rapid clip, and bond prices wobbled and turned lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.33 percent from 2.30 percent. Bond prices have fallen hard since the election and yields are now at their highest in a year.

OUT IN FORCE: Customer management software maker Salesforce.com jumped after a solid quarterly report and strong guidance. Its stock picked up $2.49, or 3.3 percent, to $77.68.

A MARVEL: Chipmaker Marvell Technology disclosed much stronger sales than analysts expected and gave a surprising forecast for the current quarter. Its stock gained $1.19, or 8.9 percent, to $14.55.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gave up 30 cents at $45.12 a barrel in New York, while Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, slid 25 cents to $46.24 a barrel in London.

OVERSEAS: France’s CAC 40 fell 0.5 percent and the FTSE 100 in Britain dipped 0.3 percent. The German DAX lost 0.2 percent. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 0.6 percent as the yen hit a six-month low, helping shares of the country’s big exporters. South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.3 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.4 percent.

____

AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/journalist/marley-jay

comments powered by Disqus