Tech giants help to keep Wall Street flat - New York Report

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A drop in healthcare and biotech stocks offset gains in United Technologies and Verizon yesterday as US stocks ended down slightly.

A 5.7 per cent drop to $140.64 in IBM also weighed on the market.

The stock hit a five-year intraday low at $140.28 after it reported a bigger-than-expected fall in quarterly revenue and cut its full-year profit forecast.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 13.43 points, or 0.08 per cent, to 17,217.11, the S&P 500 lost 2.89 points, or 0.14 per cent, to 2,030.77 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 24.50 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 4,880.97.

The S&P healthcare sector fell 1.5 per cent, while the Nasdaq Biotech Index dropped 3.2 per cent. Concerns about drug pricing have hit biotech and other healthcare shares.

“You’re seeing weakness in momentum names in general… The healthcare names are under pressure again, especially pharma companies. That further increases the pall over that sector,” said Michael O’Rourke, chief market strategist at Jones­Trading in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Among companies beating analysts’ expectations, United Technologies rose 3.9 per cent to $95.62, giving the Dow its biggest boost.

Also on the plus side, Verizon’s shares were up 1.2 per cent at $45.24 after the largest US wireless service provider reported better-than-expected revenue and profit.

Shares of Tesla dropped 6.6 per cent to $213.03 in heavy volume. Cons­umer Reports magazine found that advanced fuel-saving technology and digital multimedia systems in vehicles, including the Tesla Model S sedan, are hurting reliability.