Insurers’ stocks fall; tech firms rise
NEW YORK — U. S . stocks were divided Tuesday as shares of health insurers declined after the failure of the latest Republican health care bill, while a big jump in subscribers for Netflix sent technology and consumerfocused companies higher.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 1.47 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,460.61, surpassing the record it had set Friday. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 54.99 points, or 0.3 percent, to 21,574.73. The Nasdaq composite climbed 29.87 points, or 0.5 percent, to 6,344.31 as tech companies such as Facebook and Alphabet, the parent of Google, rose. After a plunge in June, the Nasdaq has surged over the past two weeks.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks sank 3.99 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,427.61. That index closed at a record high Monday.
Stocks spent most of the day lower after the health care push stalled and several financial firms, including Goldman Sachs, reported underwhelming second-quarter results. Energy and industrial companies also slipped.
Wall Street did not have a big reaction to the Republican health care bill’s defeat in the Senate, as it did when a similar bill failed in the House in March. After four months of lawmakers struggling over health care, investors don’t expect as much from congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump on other issues.
“Tax changes aren’t likely to take place anytime soon and are likely to be smaller than they hoped,” said Kate Warne, an investment strategist for Edward Jones.
Several major banks reported strong second-quarter results, but that wasn’t enough to get investors excited. Bank of America and Goldman Sachs both said their trading businesses struggled, as the market has been calm for months. Banks did very well in the first quarter, and Warne said investors may have been caught off guard that the second quarter doesn’t look as good for them.
“When they’re not benefiting as much as expected from higher interest rates, I think that makes investors more cautious about what results will look like going forward,” Warne said.
Netflix shares jumped after the company said it added 5.2 million subscribers over the past three months, and for the first time, it has more subscribers outside the U.S. than in it. The second quarter is usually a slow period for Netflix, so investors were pleased to see the big gain. Netflix gained $21.90, or 13.5 percent, to $183.60. Among other consumer companies, Amazon added $14.41, or 1.4 percent, to $1,024.45.
Facebook gained $3.13, or 2 percent, to $162.86, and Alphabet picked up $10.99, or 1.1 percent, to $986.85.
Shares of health insurers declined. Aetna fell $1.69, or 1.1 percent, to $ 153.31, and Anthem retreated $2.64, or 1.4 percent, to $189.45. UnitedHealth, the largest company in the industry, inched higher after it reported strong second-quarter results and raised its annual outlook. It gained 50 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $186.85.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slid to 2.26 percent from 2.31 percent. That also hurt bank stocks.
Benchmark U. S. crude added 38 cents to $46.40 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 42 cents to $48.84 a barrel in London.