US stocks fall as health care shares lag

New York: US stocks ended lower as major health care shares declined, dragging the market.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wednesday decreased 3.12 points, or 0.01 per cent, to 26,449.54. The S&P 500 fell 6.61 points, or 0.23 per cent, to 2,900.45, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 4.15 points, or 0.05 per cent, to 7,996.08.

The S&P 500 health care sector closed 2.89 per cent lower, following a previous rout.

Shares of US health care giant UnitedHealth Group slid 1.86 per cent on Wednesday after a 4.01-per cent decrease in the previous session. Shares of Alexion Pharmaceuticals and DaVita, also health care big names, fell 8.05 per cent and 7.72 per cent, respectively.

The health care is one among the worst-performing group this year as calls for lower drug prices and debates about medical care plans in the US have weighted on the sector, experts noted.

Shares of Qualcomm jumped 12.25 per cent following a 23.21-per cent surge in the previous session, fueled by the news that the company and Apple have settled a lawsuit regarding royalty disputes. Apple stock also closed 1.95 per cent higher.

Wall Street also digested a slew of newly-released corporate earnings.

Morgan Stanley generated first-quarter profit of $1.39 per share, according to a Wednesday report by the bank, beating analysts’ estimates of $1.17 per share surveyed by Refinitiv. Its revenue also beat market consensus. The stock was up 2.64 per cent.

PepsiCo stock gained 3.76 per cent after the US beverage company delivered stronger-than-anticipated quarterly earnings on Wednesday.

Of the S&P 500 companies that have reported so far, about 84.6 per cent have topped analyst expectations, according to CNBC, while citing FactSet data.