Stocks Close Broadly Lower On Wall Street; Trade in Focus


Stocks closed modestly lower on Wall Street Monday as losses in technology, health care and financial companies outweighed gains elsewhere in the market.

The selling snapped a three-day winning streak for the S&P 500 and wiped out the index’s 0.2% gain last week.

Trading was mostly muted as investors looked ahead to a busy week of economic reports and an interest rate policy update from the Federal Reserve. The market also remained focused on developments in the trade negotiations between the U.S. and China.

The S&P 500 index lost 9.95 points, or 0.3%, to 3,135.96. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 105.46 points, or 0.4%, to 27,909.60. The Nasdaq dropped 34.70 points, or 0.4%, to 8,621.83. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks gave up 4.22 points, or 0.3%, to 1,629.62.

Major stock indexes in Europe also closed broadly lower.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.82% from 1.84% late Friday.

After strong gains in November, U.S. stock indexes have mostly pulled back this month ahead of the scheduled rollout of new U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods this weekend.

A Chinese official said Monday that the nation wants a prompt settlement, but gave no details on progress toward a potential deal. China made a conciliatory gesture last week when it said it would waive tariffs on American soybeans and meat.

Technology sector stocks, which have been particularly sensitive to developments on trade because many of the companies rely on China for sales and supply chains, helped drag the market lower Monday. Apple fell 1.4% and chipmaker Micron Technology slid 3.1%.

Industrial stocks also fell. United Airlines dropped 1.1% and General Electric dropped 1%. Abiomed led the slide in health care stocks, falling 4%. Banks fell as bond yields declined. Goldman Sachs dropped 1.2%.

Several retailers helped lift the consumer discretionary stocks sector. Home Depot gained 1.1% and rival Lowe’s rose 1.4%. Target picked up 1.1%.

Traders also weighed several big health care sector deals.

Shares in ArQule more than doubled on news that Merck agreed to buy the small biotechnology company for $2.7 billion. ArQule is in the early stages of studying potential treatments for conditions including leukemia. Merck inched 0.1% higher.

Sanofi made a similar play, spending $2.5 billion for Synthorx, which is also in the earlier stages of testing cancer treatments. Sanofi fell 1.6% and Synthorx jumped more than threefold.

In other deal news, health insurer United HealthGroup said it is buying Diplomat Pharmacy to help bolster its pharmacy benefits unit, OptimRx. The deal is being made at a steep discount, which sent Diplomat’s stock plunging 32.7%. UnitedHealth dropped 0.9%.

Wall Street is in for a busy week of economic reports culminating in a key update on whether Americans are still spending at a healthy pace.

Benchmark crude oil fell 18 cents to settle at $59.02 a barrel. Brent crude oil, the international standard, dropped 14 cents to close at $64.25 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline was little changed at $1.65 per gallon. Heating oil slipped a penny to $1.94 per gallon. Natural gas fell 10 cents to $2.23 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold fell 20 cents to $1,464.90 per ounce, silver gained 5 cents to $16.53 per ounce and copper rose 3 cents to $2.75 per pound.

The dollar rose to 108.62 Japanese yen from 108.55 yen on Friday. The euro strengthened to $1.1064 from $1.1056.