* Health index set for worst day since Nov. 22
* Pfizer top drag on S&P, J&J on Dow
* Dow up 0.28 pct, S&P up 0.04 pct, Nasdaq down 0.07 pct
(Adds details, comments, updates prices)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
Jan 11 U.S. stocks slipped to session lows,
before recovering ground, on Wednesday as drug stocks took a
beating after Donald Trump's comments on drug pricing in his
first formal news conference after his election victory.
The President-elect lashed out at pharmaceutical companies,
saying they were "getting away with murder" by charging high
Drug pricing has become a lightning rod for criticism with
several drugmakers coming under federal investigation for price
The S&P 500 healthcare index, which reversed course
following Trump's comments, was down about 1 percent and on
track for its worst day since Nov. 22.
The Nasdaq biotechnology index lost 2.4 percent. Both
indexes are on track to snap a six-day winning streak.
"We expect the U.S. biotech and pharmaceutical sector to be
very volatile in the coming days and any mergers and acquisition
will not be that easy," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst
at ThinkMarkets UK.
The top five losers on the S&P 500 were healthcare-related
stocks, led by Pfizer. Amgen weighed the most
on the Nasdaq, while J&J was the biggest drag on the
"In times like this the expectation is for an erratic,
choppy environment, however we have not got anything earth
shattering," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn
Capital in Bernardsville, New Jersey.
At 11:59 a.m. ET (1659 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial
Average was up 55.17 points, or 0.28 percent, at
19,910.7, the S&P 500 was up 0.91 points, or 0.04
percent, at 2,269.81 and the Nasdaq Composite was down
3.68 points, or 0.07 percent, at 5,548.14.
Five of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower.
Energy stocks rose tracking a more-than-2-percent
gain in oil prices. That helped limit losses.
Merck's near 3 percent rise and Goldman Sachs's
near 1 percent increase helped keep the Dow afloat.
Lockheed Martin dropped about 1 percent after Trump
said the F-35 fighter jet project "is way behind schedule and
billions over budget."
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,678
to 1,146. On the Nasdaq, 1,434 issues fell and 1,255 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed 14 new 52-week highs and two new
lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 71 new highs and 11 new lows.
(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru, Additional
reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Savio D'Souza)