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US: Wall Street ends flat; Netflix jumps after the bell


[NEW YORK] US stocks closed little changed in low volume on Monday as gains in utilities and consumer stocks offset declines in healthcare, with earnings news filtering out winners and losers across the board.

BlackRock shares fell 3.1 per cent to US$424.63 after the world's biggest asset manager's quarterly profit came in below expectations.

After the closing bell, Netflix shares jumped 8.5 per cent to US$175.45 following better than expected subscriber growth.

Procter & Gamble rose 0.5 per cent to US$87.55 as investor Nelson Peltz actively seeks a seat on P&G's board.

Market voices on:

Health stocks on the S&P 500 slipped, partly weighed down by a delay in the US Senate's consideration of healthcare legislation after news over the weekend that Arizona Republican Senator John McCain would remain in his home state next week following a medical procedure.

"I think we've got to see some dry ink on the healthcare bill before you can make broad bets on that sector," said Erick Ormsby, CEO of Alcosta Capital Management in San Ramon, California.

"The bulk of funds will come in as we see clarity on healthcare bill."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 8.02 points, or 0.04 per cent, to 21,629.72, the S&P 500 lost 0.13 points, or 0.01 per cent, to 2,459.14 and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.97 points, or 0.03 per cent, to 6,314.43.

The S&P health sector fell 0.3 per cent while utilities gained 0.4 per cent and the consumer discretionary sector rose 0.26 per cent.

Amazon led discretionary sector gains with a 0.8 per cent increase to US$1,010.04. Meal-kit company Blue Apron Holdings fell 10.5 per cent to US$6.59 after an Amazon unit filed a trademark for a competing meal-kit service earlier this month.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.28-to-one ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.09-to-one ratio favoured advancers.

In what could be the slowest full session by volume so far this year, about 5.16 billion shares changed hands on US exchanges, compared with the 6.51 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions.