Stocks skid as healthcare plunge obscures China rebound

By April Joyner NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks around the globe fell on Wednesday as a continued flight from healthcare shares dragged on Wall Street, overshadowing upbeat economic data from China.

Reuters April 18, 2019 03:05:09 IST
Stocks skid as healthcare plunge obscures China rebound

Stocks skid as healthcare plunge obscures China rebound

By April Joyner

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks around the globe fell on Wednesday as a continued flight from healthcare shares dragged on Wall Street, overshadowing upbeat economic data from China.

The S&P 500 dipped as the healthcare index dived 2.9% to erase its year-to-date gains on continued fallout from concerns about potential changes to U.S. policy, including a "Medicare for All" proposal by Senator Bernie Sanders.

"Healthcare's lagging right now, and that's pure regulatory risk," said Shawn Cruz, manager of trader strategy at TD Ameritrade in Jersey City, New Jersey. "Some companies have raised guidance or shown solid growth out of their drugs, and they still were hurt."

The decline in U.S. stocks weighed on MSCI's 47-country world index, which was buoyed earlier by better-than-expected Chinese data showing the country's economy grew 6.4% in the first quarter.

MSCI's emerging market stocks index, by contrast, maintained a 0.3% gain on the strength of the Chinese data.

China's industrial output surged 8.5% in March from a year earlier, the fastest pace since July 2014 and well above forecasts of a 5.9% increase. Retail sales also pleased, with a rise of 8.7%.

Allianz Global Investors strategist and portfolio manager Neil Dwane said the data had been good enough to allay fears that China's economy was collapsing, although the rest of the year remained in question.

"Beijing will now be in a wait-and-see mode to gauge whether it has done enough," Dwane said, referring to stimulus efforts. "To be bullish (on stocks) from here you would have to believe in a pretty strong global recovery in the second half... We are a bit more ho-hum."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 3.12 points, or 0.01%, to 26,449.54, the S&P 500 lost 6.61 points, or 0.23%, to 2,900.45 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 4.15 points, or 0.05%, to 7,996.08.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.08%.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes last rose 1/32 in price to yield 2.5922%, from 2.594% late on Tuesday.

For a graphic on World stocks bounce $7.5 trillion since late December, see - https://tmsnrt.rs/2IoRV6P

The euro edged up 0.1% to $1.1296, recovering from losses driven by a Reuters report that several European Central Bank policymakers think the bank's economic projections are too optimistic.

Another currency on the move was the New Zealand dollar, which sank 0.6% to $0.6721 after annual consumer price inflation came in well below expectations, at just 1.5% for the first quarter.

Against a basket of major currencies, the dollar was little changed.

In commodity markets, copper touched a nine-month high on strong Chinese economic data and ended 0.9% higher at $6,556 per tonne.

Spot gold, by contrast, slipped to its lowest for the year. It was last down 0.2% at $1,274.25 per ounce.

Oil prices edged lower, reversing course from earlier gains as U.S. government data showed inventories were drawn down less than an industry report had suggested on Tuesday.

U.S. crude settled at $63.76 a barrel, down 29 cents for a 0.45% decline. Global benchmark Brent crude settled at $71.62 a barrel, down 10 cents for a 0.14% drop.

(Reporting by April Joyner; Additional reporting by Marc Jones, Noah Browning and Zandi Shabalala in London, Amy Caren Daniel and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru and Karen Brettell, Stephen Culp, Jessica Resnick-Ault and Stephanie Kelly in New York; Editing by Diane Craft, Dan Grebler and Susan Thomas)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

Rockets hit near U.S. forces and contractors in Iraq in separate attacks -officials
World

Rockets hit near U.S. forces and contractors in Iraq in separate attacks -officials

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Rockets hit near U.S. forces and contractors in Iraq on Wednesday, including an air base north of Baghdad and a military base at Baghdad International Airport, the Iraqi army and security officials said. The army reported at least three rockets hit Balad air base, where U.S

Italian police probe subcontractor to Burberry over labour exploitation -warrant
World

Italian police probe subcontractor to Burberry over labour exploitation -warrant

By Silvia Ognibene and Silvia Aloisi FLORENCE, Italy (Reuters) -Italian police have arrested a Chinese couple accused of running a leather goods business which exploited immigrant workers it employed to make handbags for a Burberry supplier, according to an arrest warrant seen by Reuters. Tax police in Florence said in a statement that the two Chinese nationals were arrested on Wednesday as part of an investigation into alleged labour exploitation and tax fraud and that restrictive measures had been imposed on two other family members, including a ban on them leaving Italy

U.S. blacklists four Nicaraguans, including Ortega's daughter
World

U.S. blacklists four Nicaraguans, including Ortega's daughter

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Wednesday blacklisted four Nicaraguans, including a daughter of President Daniel Ortega, as Washington warned it would continue to use diplomatic and economic tools against members of the leftist government engaged in repression. The U.S. State Department called on Ortega to release detained presidential candidates as well as other civil society and opposition leaders arrested over the past week in what Washington called "an increasing wave of repression." "There are costs for those who are complicit in the regime's repression.