Stocks end mixed as health bill falters
Trading volume low as investors await answers about Trump’s agenda.
U.S. stocks flirted with bigger losses but managed a mixed finish after Republicans canceled a vote on their health care bill because it became clear the measure would fail. Investors didn’t trade much as they waited for answers about the state of President Donald Trump’s business-friendly agenda.
For the second day in a row, stocks started higher and wilted as it became clear the health care bill was in trouble. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped as much as 126 points in afternoon trading on reports of the bill’s impending failure, although Wall Street cut its losses after the vote was canceled. Consumer-focused companies like Nike, Starbucks and clothing company PVH rose.
The health care act dominated the market for most of this week. Banks and small-company stocks, which made huge gains after Trump was elected, both suffered their biggest losses in more than a year.
Trump and other Republican leaders said they were moving on from health care, and Michael Scanlon, a portfolio manager for Manulife Asset Management, said investors might be glad if that happens.
“You’re going to see a very quick pivot to corporate tax reform,” he said. A corporate tax cut could give stocks a large boost by increasing profits, and it might also raise tax revenue. After the close of trading, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Republicans will proceed with tax reform proposals, but acknowledged the health care debacle will make that task more difficult.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index finished down 1.98 points, or 0.1 percent, at 2,343.98. The Dow lost 59.86 points, or 0.3 percent, to 20,596.72 as Goldman Sachs and Boeing sank. Technology companies inched higher and the Nasdaq composite rose 11.05 points, or