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Dow hit by healthcare concerns

US stocks mostly fell yesterday as Pfizer’s disappointing outlook weighed on the health sector, and President Barack Obama’s pledge to complete banking and healthcare reform revived fears of increased regulation.

Obama reiterated his commitment to overhaul the healthcare system and impose stricter regulatory reforms on Wall Street, underscoring the political risk that has driven US stocks lower in recent weeks.

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 26.30 points, or 0.26 per cent, to end at 10,270.55. The Standard &
Poor’s 500 Index fell 6.04 points, or 0.55 per cent, to end at 1,097.28. But the Nasdaq Composite Index inched up just 0.85 of a point, or 0.04 percent, to close at 2,190.91.

Visa, the credit card business, posted a higher quarterly profit after the closing bell, helped by rising debt card processing volume.