By Yashaswini Swamynathan
U.S. stocks dipped on Wednesday as a drop in the healthcare sector took the shine off a post-election rally that had powered Wall Street to record levels.Healthcare stocks, which had a sharp run higher following the election, fell 1.4 percent, dragged down by Eli Lilly after the company said it would stop developing its Alzheimer's drug following a trail failure.Lilly shares plunged 14.4 percent and weighed on companies developing similar drugs. Biogen dropped 6.2 percent, while Axovant fell 5.2 percent.The Nasdaq biotechnology index fell 2.25 percent, on track for its worst decline in nearly three weeks.Biogen was the biggest drag, followed by Juno Therapeutics, which sank 33 percent after reporting that two patients died during a trial of its leukemia drug.Healthcare stocks had also weighed on Wall Street on Tuesday, but could not prevent the three main U.S. indexes from hitting intraday highs for the second straight day.Trading volumes are likely to remain subdued ahead of the Thanksgiving Day holiday on Thursday and an early market close on Black Friday.
"People are in a holiday mindset today, but nothing appears to be in the horizon to derail the recent market strength," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital in Bernardsville, New Jersey."But on days when light volume is expected, it is easier to move stocks and should anything come out that is market moving, the degree of move could be exacerbated."At 9:37 a.m. ET (1437 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 4.38 points, or 0.02 percent, at 19,019.49.The S&P 500 was down 6.23 points, or 0.28 percent, at 2,196.71 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 28.23 points, or 0.52 percent, at 5,358.12.
Helping provide some support was the industrials sector, which with a rise of 0.35 percent was bigger of the only two gainers among the 11 major S&P sectors.The biggest boost was from Deere, which soared 11.2 percent to $102.35 after the farm equipment maker's quarterly sales and earnings beat expectations.Also helping industrials was a report that showed orders for durable goods increased much more than expected in October on rising demand for machinery and other equipment.
Caterpillar's 1.5 percent increase was the biggest on the Dow.Investors are also waiting for the minutes of the Federal Reserve's November meeting that will likely reinforce a plan to raise interest rates next month. Traders have priced in an 87 percent chance of a hike on Dec. 14, according to Thomson Reuters data.Among stocks, Urban Outfitters sank 8.1 percent to after the apparel maker's comparable sales missed analysts' estimates.Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,876 to 794. On the Nasdaq, 1,519 issues fell and 722 advanced.The S&P 500 index showed 37 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 110 new highs and nine new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)
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