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Stocks Edge Lower Early Wednesday      04/17 10:07

   Major U.S. stock indexes fell in morning trading Wednesday as losses by 
health care companies outweighed gains elsewhere in the market.

   (AP) -- Major U.S. stock indexes fell in morning trading Wednesday as losses 
by health care companies outweighed gains elsewhere in the market.

   Anthem, Cigna and UnitedHealth Group were among the biggest decliners in the 
health care sector for the second straight day. Investors are hammering 
insurers amid fears over the potential impact on profits of health reform ideas 
being discussed in Congress.

   Qualcomm led the gainers in the technology sector, adding a 17% rise to 
Tuesday's 23% gain on news that the mobile chipmaker's bitter legal dispute 
with Apple is over.

   In a related move, Intel climbed 3.4% after pulling out of the smartphone 
modem market.

   T-Mobile and Sprint were both lower on reports the Justice Department is 
questioning their proposed merger.

   PepsiCo and Morgan Stanley rose after delivering better than expected 
quarterly results Wednesday. IBM and Netflix fell a day after reporting their 
earnings. United Continental headed higher.

   Investors continued to pore over company earnings reports, focusing on 
companies' profit and revenue outlooks for the rest of this year. Analysts 
expect the first quarter results for S&P 500 companies overall to be the 
weakest in nearly three years.

   The lower start on Wall Street followed uneven trading in global markets, 
despite news that China's economy grew at a better than expected 6.4% annual 
pace in the January-March quarter. The data suggests Beijing's efforts to halt 
a slowdown are working, but its economy is still growing at the weakest pace 
since 2009.

   KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 fell 0.2% as of 10:14 a.m. Eastern Time. The Dow 
Jones Industrial Average slid 47 points, or 0.2%, to 26,405. The Nasdaq 
composite lost 0.1%.

   The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks gave up 0.5%. 


   NOT VERY HEALTHY: Several health insurers helped pull the market lower. 
Anthem fell 4.6%, Cigna lost 3.2% and UnitedHealth Group slid 3.1%.

   SPOTTY RECEPTION: Sprint and T-Mobile shares fell after a Wall Street 
Journal report cast doubt on the likelihood of government approval of the 
companies' $26.5 billion merger.

   The Journal said that Justice Department antitrust personnel reviewing the 
takeover questioned the companies' reasoning for it in a meeting this month. 
Talks between regulators and the companies are ongoing, according to the 
report, which cited unnamed people familiar with the matter.

   Sprint shares slid 4.1%, while T-Mobile dropped 2.9%. 


   BIG SETTLEMENT: Qualcomm added 17% to Tuesday's 23% gain on news that the 
mobile chipmaker's bitter legal dispute with Apple is over. It centered on 
technology that enables iPhones to connect to the internet.

   The settlement, announced Tuesday, requires Apple to pay Qualcomm an 
undisclosed amount. It also includes a six-year licensing agreement that likely 
involves recurring payments to the mobile chip maker. Apple rose 0.5%.

   ON TRACK: Railroad operator CSX climbed 5.3% a day after it turned in 
quarterly results that topped Wall Street's forecasts. 


(BAS)

 
 
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