Wall St. Rally Falters as Healthcare, Industrials Drag

(Reuters) —
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(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Losses in health-care and industrial stocks paused Wall Street’s new year rally that had driven the blue-chip Dow index to its fastest ever 1,000 point rise.

The S&P healthcare index fell 0.47 percent, mostly due to losses in Merck J&J and Pfizer.

A 2.4 percent drop in Boeing’s high-flying stock kept the Dow in the red, a day after the index closed above the 26,000 mark for the first time.

“This might just be a little bit of a pullback, especially after yesterday’s significant gain, until we get further into the earnings season,” said Lindsey Bell, investment strategist at CFRA Research in New York.

Investors are keeping a close eye on corporate earnings reports, given the runup in stock valuations.

Morgan Stanley wrapped up earnings season for the big U.S. banks with a better-than-expected quarterly profit, driving modest gains in its shares.

Bank of New York Mellon fell about 5 percent after the custodian bank said it expected to book more in severance costs in 2018.

Alcoa tumbled 8 percent after the aluminum producer’s earnings missed analysts’ estimates.

At 12:31 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 87.74 points, or 0.34 percent, at 26,027.91; and the S&P 500 was down 3.67 points, or 0.13 percent, at 2,798.89.

The Nasdaq Composite was up 3.90 points, or 0.05 percent, at 7,302.18.

Yields on 10-year notes hit a 10-month high on Thursday after China’s fourth-quarter growth accelerated for the first time in seven years.

Sectors that are considered bond proxies, utilities and real estate fell 1 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively. They have been among the worst performers since the start of 2018.

Oil prices gave up earlier losses, supported by a record drawdown of U.S. crude stockpiles at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub. U.S. crude was up 0.08 percent at $64.02 per barrel.

Investors were also focused on the Republican efforts to pass a temporary extension in funding government operations and avert a shutdown, scheduling a vote on the measure in the afternoon.

The government is operating on its third temporary funding extension since the 2018 fiscal year began on Oct. 1.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 2,039 to 859. On the Nasdaq, 1,770 issues fell and 1,084 advanced.

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