By Yashaswini Swamynathan
U.S. stocks reversed course as some investors locked in gains after the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq hit record highs, with healthcare and industrial stocks leading the decliners.While strong first-quarter earnings supported the indexes in the past few weeks, global geopolitical tensions and developments in Washington could unsettle the market's record-setting spree.Investors turned cautious after reports that President Donald Trump disclosed highly classified information to Russia's foreign minister about a planned Islamic State operation.The latest development could distract the Trump administration from its priorities such as tax reform, healthcare and simpler regulations.The dollar index .DXY - which measures the greenback against six other major currencies - hit a six-month low, while prices of safe-haven gold rose."This kind of backdrop is very conducive to stock-pickers and that is helping drive idiosyncratic positions across markets," said Matt Miskin, senior capital markets research analyst at John Hancock Investments in Boston, Massachusetts.
Home Depot's (HD.N) first-quarter performance was a bright spot. The stock gave the biggest boost to the S&P 500 and the Dow with a 1.7 percent gain.A report from the Federal Reserve showed U.S. factory output in April rose at its fastest clip in three years, supporting a view that economic growth was rebounding in the second quarter after a sluggish start to the year. [nTLAGGED9W]"As long as we have growth, whether it is earnings or economic data, the markets are likely to be able to take such (political) headlines in stride," Miskin said.
At 11:05 a.m. ET (1505 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 15.73 points, or 0.07 percent, at 20,966.21, the S&P 500 .SPX was down 3.09 points, or 0.13 percent, at 2,399.23 and the Nasdaq Composite index .IXIC was up 1.06 points, or 0.02 percent, at 6,150.73.Ten of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were lower. Healthcare .SPXHC was the top loser with a 0.5 percent decline.Pfizer (PFE.N) was down 1.8 percent at $32.54 after Citigroup downgraded the drug developer's stock to "sell" from "neutral".
Staples (SPLS.O) was off 5 percent and was the top percentage loser on the S&P 500 after the office supplies retailer reported a decline in quarterly sales.Akebia Therapeutics (AKBA.O) was up 15 percent at $14.85 after the drug developer entered into an agreement with Vifor Pharma Group, which also made a $50 million equity investment in the company.Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,755 to 978. On the Nasdaq, 1,686 issues fell and 979 advanced.The S&P 500 index showed 50 new 52-week highs and 12 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 85 new highs and 40 new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)
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Published Date: May 16, 2017 22:18 PM | Updated Date: May 16, 2017 22:18 PM