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US:Wall St slips as bank, health stocks drag

[NEW YORK] US stocks were slightly lower on Wednesday, weighed down by losses in bank and healthcare stocks.At 9.43 am ET (1443 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 40.95 points, or 0.2 per cent, at 20,049.34, the S&P 500 was down 5.31 points, or 0.23 per cent, at 2,287.77 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 17.04 points, or 0.3 per cent, at 5,657.18.

Oil prices fell 0.5 per cent as an increase in US crude inventories and a slump in Chinese demand implied that global oil markets remain oversupplied despite OPEC-led efforts to cut output.

The S&P 500 financial index, which has outperformed other sectors in a post-election rally, was down 0.83 per cent and was on track for its third straight day of decline.

Healthcare was off 0.66 per cent, dragged down by Gilead.

The drugmaker's stock, which also weighed on the S&P and the Nasdaq, was down 9.3 per cent after the company projected disappointing sales for its hepatitis C drugs this year.

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However, the fourth-quarter earnings season is expected to end on a high note. Combined earnings of S&P 500 companies are estimated to have risen 8.2 per cent - the most in nine quarters.


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