U.S. stocks fell in afternoon trading on Tuesday as a rout in healthcare stocks resumed and as an IMF report added to worries about global growth.
A surge in DuPont’s stock helped limit losses on the Dow and, to some extent, on the S&P, but the Nasdaq fell more than 1 percent following a sharp drop in biotech stocks.
The S&P health index was down 3 percent, the worst performing sector among the ten major S&P sectors. The sector has been under intense scrutiny over high prices for drug.
The Nasdaq biotechnology index was down 5 percent. At one point the index was down 6.6 percent, set for its biggest intraday drop since August 2011.
The International Monetary Fund cut its global growth forecasts for a second time this year, citing weak commodity prices and a slowdown in China.
S&P 500 companies are expected to report a 4.2 percent fall in earnings in the third quarter, the biggest decline in six years, according to Thomson Reuters data.
At 12:48 ET (1648 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was down 9.22 points, or 0.05 percent, at 16,767.21, the Nasdaq composite was down 61.20 points, or 1.28 percent, at 4,720.07.
The S&P 500 was down 12.41 points, or 0.62 percent, at 1,974.64. The index had gained 5.6 percent over the past five days, its best 5-day run since 2011.
U.S. stocks had gained for two days after a weak U.S. jobs report of Friday lowered the chances of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates this year, meaning the era of near-zero interest rates would continue.
Seven of the ten major S&P sectors were lower. The energy index was up 2 percent, leading the advancers, after crude oil prices jumped. [O/R]
DuPont rose 10 percent to $56.41 after CEO Ellen Kullman said she would step down. The stock gave the biggest boost to the S&P and the Dow, where it added nearly 38 points.
Allegran was down 4.7 percent at $265.41 and was the biggest drag on the S&P health index and the broader S&P 500.
Pepsi rose 1.3 percent to $97.10 after it reported better-than-expected quarterly results and raised its forecast for the year.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,554 to 1,412. On the Nasdaq, 1,683 issues fell and 974 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed six new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaqrecorded 30 new highs and 34 new lows.
(Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar and Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)