Translate This Page

Monday, December 20, 2010

Drug Stocks Fall, Tech Rises (ext: WSJ)

U.S. blue-chip stocks closed slightly lower Friday as regulatory worries weighed on drug makers, but the losses were muted in the face of positive profit reports from technology companies.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 7.34 points, or 0.06%, to 11491.91. American Express led the measure lower, falling 56 cents, or 1.3%, to $44.01, while Merck and Pfizer were among the Dow's biggest decliners.

Pharmaceutical stocks struggled after the Food and Drug Administration delayed approval of a blood-thinning drug from European drug maker AstraZeneca, raising fears of greater hurdles in bringing new medications to market. On Thursday, the regulator said it is recommending popular Roche Holding drug Avastin no longer be approved for treatment of breast cancer.

"It has this feel as though the market is sort of lumbering into the new year," said Hank Smith, chief investment officer of equities at Haverford Investments. "This market wants to have a bias to the upside, but I don't think you're going to get an explosive move up from here. A lot of the good news we have seen has already been priced in."

The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index edged up 1.04 points, or 0.08%, to 1243.91, led by material and utility stocks. The broad index has registered gains in nine of the past 11 weeks.

The Nasdaq Composite added 5.66 points, or 0.21%, to 2642.97, boosted by a slew of better-than-expected earnings from technology companies.

No comments: