The S&P 500 and Nasdaq slipped in choppy trading late Wednesday afternoon as insurers and other big healthcare names dropped and Yahoo (YHOO.O) shares fell following disappointing results.
Valeant Pharmaceutical’s (VRX.N) U.S.-listed shares dropped sharply, hitting a low of $88.50, after short-seller Citron Research released a report critical about the company.
The stock later pared losses and was last at $120.39 after investor Bill Ackman said he increased his Valeant stake on Wednesday by 2 million shares, according to CNBC.
Shares of Allergan (AGN.N), which has a business model similar to that of Valeant, fell 4.6 percent to $251.37, though the company said nearly all of its drugs are being distributed through traditional wholesale and retail channels. Endo International (ENDP.O) fell 7.7 percent to $58.05.
Health insurers Aetna (AET.N), Humana (HUM.N), Anthem (ANTM.N) and Cigna (CI.N) slipped after Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said she had “serious concerns” about the mergers the companies were proposing.
On the plus side, shares of General Motors (GM.N) rose 6.5 percent to $35.64, while Boeing (BA.N) rose 1.7 percent to $141.31, after both industry heavyweights reported better-than-expected results.
Yahoo (YHOO.O) was down 4.9 percent at $31.22, a day after the Internet company’s quarterly earnings and profit missed expectations.
“Earnings are a mixed bag but you’ve seen the market rally over the last six years without strong earnings,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital.
The outlook for interest rates remains a bigger factor right now for the market, he said, adding “the easy money trading trumps everything else.”
Stocks have mostly gained this month following a sharp selloff in the third quarter. The Federal Reserve decided against raising rates at is September meeting.
At 3:20 p.m., the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was unchanged at 17,217.11, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 6.72 points, or 0.33 percent, to 2,024.05 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXICdropped 27.01 points, or 0.55 percent, to 4,853.96.
Of the S&P 500 companies that have reported results so far, 42 percent have exceeded revenue estimates, though about 60 percent typically beat estimates in a quarter, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Ferrari (RACE.N) was up 8.5 percent at $56.42 in its debut on the New York Stock Exchange.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,984 to 1,053, for a 1.88-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 1,899 issues fell and 846 advanced for a 2.24-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 27 new 52-week highs and 5 new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 52 new highs and 79 new lows.