Stocks drop as Greek talks stall

Los Angeles Times - - COMPANY TOWN - As­so­ci­ated press

Stocks edged lower Thurs­day as Greece res­cue talks stalled and got ex­tended into the week­end. But healthcare stocks rose sharply af­ter the Supreme Court up­held the Af­ford­able Care Act’s in­sur­ance sub­si­dies.

The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age lost 75.71 points, or 0.4%, to 17,890.36. The Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 in­dex fell 6.27 points, or 0.3%, to 2,102.31 and the Nas­daq com­pos­ite fell 10.22 points, or 0.2%, to 5,112.19.

The bit­ter stand­off be­tween Greece and its in­ter­na­tional cred­i­tors was ex­tended into the week­end, days be­fore Athens has to meet a cru­cial debt dead­line that could de­cide whether it de­faults on its debt and has to aban­don the euro.

A key meet­ing of Eu­ro­zone f inance min­is­ters broke up Thurs­day with­out agree­ment on Greece’s res­cue pack­age, in­ten­si­fy­ing doubts about whether Athens can make a $ 1.8- bil­lion debt pay­ment to the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund that is due Tues­day.

An agree­ment on a dras­tic Greek tax and aus­ter­ity re­form pack­age is nec­es­sary for cred­i­tors to un­freeze $ 8.1 bil­lion in bailout money.

“It’s fair to say mar­kets have been some­what com­pla­cent about the risk re­lated to Greece, and it’s all com­ing to a head now,” said Ben Man­del, a global strate- gist at JPMor­gan Multi- As­set So­lu­tions. “It could cause some volatil­ity next week.”

Healthcare stocks, es­pe­cially hos­pi­tal op­er­a­tors, rose sharply af­ter the Supreme Court up­held the na­tion­wide tax sub­si­dies un­der Pres­i­dent Obama’s healthcare over­haul. The rul­ing will pre­serve health in­sur­ance for mil­lions of Amer­i­cans who are not cov­ered un­der state- owned ex­changes. Hu­mana rose 7%, HCA Hold­ings rose 9%, Tenet Healthcare rose 12% and Cigna rose 2%.

U. S. gov­ern­ment bond prices fell. The yield on the 10- year Trea­sury note rose to 2.40% from 2.37% late Wed­nes­day.

In the energy mar­kets, the price of oil fell on con­tin­u­ing con­cerns that high sup­plies of ga­so­line and diesel will keep a lid on crude de­mand. Bench­mark U. S. crude fell 57 cents to close at $ 59.70 a bar­rel in New York. Brent crude, a bench­mark for in­ter­na­tional oils used by many U. S. re­finer­ies, fell 29 cents to close at $ 63.20 in Lon­don.

In other fu­tures trad­ing on the New York Mer­can­tile Ex­change, whole­sale ga­so­line fell 1.9 cents to close at $ 2.037 a gallon. Heat­ing oil fell 1.4 cents to close at $ 1.862 a gallon. Nat­u­ral gas rose 9.1 cents to close at $ 2.850 per 1,000 cu­bic feet.

Gold fell $ 1.10 to $ 1,171.80 an ounce, sil­ver fell 4 cents to $ 15.81 an ounce and cop­per was f lat at $ 2.62 a pound.

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