US STOCKS had their biggest fall in over a month yesterday as early enthusiasm from economic data faded and concerns about the violence in Iraq gave investors a reason to sell and book some profits.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 119.13 points or 0.7 per cent, to end at 16,818.13 – its biggest drop since 20 May. The S&P 500 lost 12.63 points or 0.64 per cent, to 1,949.98. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 18.32 points or 0.42 per cent, to 4,350.36.
The S&P 500 climbed to 1,968.17, another intraday record, and then dropped around midday. The benchmark index had rallied for six straight days before ending Monday’s session slightly lower.
Shares in US high street chemists Walgreen fell 1.7 per cent to $72.48 after it reported its third-quarter results. Walgreen withdrew its 2016 profit and revenue forecasts, citing the need to work out several aspects of its planned acquisition of UK rival Alliance Boots.
Biotech shares were a bright spot, buoyed by a 40.4 per cent surge in Vertex Pharmaceuticals to $93.53 on heavy volume. Vertex said a combination of drugs designed to treat cystic fibrosis succeeded in improving lung function in a pair of closely watched late-stage clinical trials.
Another ray of light was the consumer Confidence Index for June hit its highest level since January 2008, according to the Conference Board, a private industry group.
New home sales jumped 18.6 per cent in May to a six-year high of a seasonally adjusted rate of 504,000 units, new statistics showed.