* Biogen falls on downgrade, weighs the most on S&P 500
* Apple ticks up to record, buoys Nasdaq
* Dow down 0.07 pct, S&P 500 down 0.16 pct, Nasdaq up 0.01
(Updates to close)
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, March 16 U.S. stocks slipped on
Thursday pressured by healthcare shares as traders cashed in
gains from one of the best performing sectors so far this year.
Proposals in President Donald Trump's budget signaled higher
regulatory costs for the sector and a cut in federal funding for
medical research. Though still a ways away from becoming a
reality, they gave traders a reason to sell.
The S&P 500 healthcare index dropped 0.9 percent.
Financials outperformed in a rebound after the
sector was the worst performer on Wednesday and as the benchmark
U.S. Treasury note yield rose, while utilities
Biogen weighed down the S&P 500, falling 4.7
percent to $278.96 after two brokerages downgraded the stock.
"Healthcare is being dragged down by equipment and supplies,
biotechnology, and tools and services. These sectors have
actually done quite well year-to-date, so this is just a little
speed bump," said Brian Jacobsen, chief portfolio strategist at
Wells Fargo Funds Management in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.
"There’s a push and a pull with these stocks as the
President has promised to accelerate the (drug and device)
approval process, but now he’s proposing to cut the budget of
the FDA, which could make it difficult to get expedited
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 15.55 points,
or 0.07 percent, to close at 20,934.55, the S&P 500 lost
3.88 points, or 0.16 percent, to 2,381.38 and the Nasdaq
Composite added 0.71 point, or 0.01 percent, to
Oracle surged to a record high of $46.99 before
closing up 6.2 percent at $45.73, after it posted a
better-than-expected quarterly profit.
Tyson Foods slipped 1.7 percent to $62.00 on news
that a form of bird flu that is highly lethal for poultry had
infected a second farm that supplies Tyson.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a
1.29-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.49-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 52 new 52-week highs and one new low; the
Nasdaq Composite recorded 145 new highs and 52 new lows.
About 6.60 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges,
below the 6.96 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions.
(Additional reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by James