Stocks wob­ble, end mixed

Mar­ket re­acts to the failed health care bill and hopes ad­min­is­tra­tion moves on to the cor­po­rate tax cut.

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Mar­ley Jay

new york» U.S. stocks flirted with sharp losses but man­aged a mixed fin­ish af­ter Repub­li­cans can­celed a vote on their health care bill be­cause it be­came clear the bill would fail. Hos­pi­tal stocks soared in re­sponse, while com­pa­nies that stand to ben­e­fit from other Trump pro­pos­als fal­tered.

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 plunged 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. Con­sumer­fo­cused com­pa­nies like Nike, Star­bucks and cloth­ing com­pany PVH rose.

The health care act be­came some­thing of a proxy for the rest of the Trump agenda and it dom­i­nated the mar­ket for most of this week. It was the worst week for stocks since the week be­fore the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. Banks and small-com­pany stocks, which made huge gains af­ter Trump was elected, both suf­fered their big­gest losses in more than a year.

Pres­i­dent 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 will 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.

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 11.04 points, or 0.2 per­cent, to 5,828.74. The Rus­sell 2000 in­dex of smaller-com­pany stocks added 1.22 points, or 0.1 per­cent, to 1,354.64.

HCA Hold­ings, the largest U.S. hos­pi­tal com­pany, climbed $2.87, or 3.5 per­cent, to $86.04 and Com­mu­nity Health Sys­tems jumped 84 cents, or 9.7 per­cent, to $9.54. Among Med­i­caid-fo­cused com­pa­nies, Cen­tene and Molina Health­care each gained about 5 per­cent. In­sur­ance com­pa­nies slumped. Cigna fell $3.36, or 2.3 per­cent, to $142.82 and An­them shed $2.63, or 1.6 per­cent, to $126.77.

U.S. crude oil fu­tures rose 27 cents to $47.97 a bar­rel in New York. Brent crude, used to price in­ter­na­tional oils, added 24 cents to $50.80 a bar­rel in Lon­don.

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