June 24, 2019 / 2:45 PM / 8 months ago

Wall St. flat as healthcare losses limit tech gains

(Reuters) - Wall Street’s main indexes were flat on Monday, as losses in healthcare stocks offset gains in the technology sector, while investors awaited a high-stakes meeting between U.S. and Chinese leaders at the G20 summit later this week.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the main trading floor after the opening bell at New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S. June 20, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Optimism over a revival in trade talks between the two largest economies and hopes that the Federal Reserve would cut interest rates to battle the impact of a trade war on economic growth helped push the S&P 500 index to a record high on Friday.

The benchmark index is up 7.2% so far in June and is on track to recoup its losses from the previous month.

Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping are expected to meet at the G20 summit on June 28-29 in Japan. Although analysts are not expecting the two sides to come to a meaningful agreement, any signs of a de-escalation could boost investor sentiment.

The trade-sensitive industrial sector edged 0.18% higher. But the biggest boost to the markets came from the technology sector, which rose 0.43%.

“Since the trade war began more than 12 months ago, economically-sensitive parts of the global equity markets have underperformed,” said Brian Koble, chief investment officer at Hefren-Tillotson, a wealth management company in Pittsburgh.

“Investors could be well-rewarded should there be progress toward a trade deal.”

Countering gains, the healthcare sector dropped 0.41%, weighed down by a 5% decline in shares of Celgene Corp and a 7% fall in those of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.

Bristol-Myers said its planned $74 billion deal to buy drugmaker Celgene was expected to close at the end of 2019 or beginning 2020, compared with its earlier expectations of closing the deal in the third quarter.

The energy sector dropped 0.73%, the most among the 11 major S&P sectors, as oil prices fell 1% on demand concerns and signs of easing tensions between the United States and Iran. [O/R]

At 12:55 p.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 44.64 points, or 0.17%, at 26,763.77 and the S&P 500 was up 0.76 points, or 0.03%, at 2,951.22.

The Nasdaq Composite was down 3.50 points, or 0.04%, at 8,028.21. The Nasdaq Biotechnology index fell 1.50%.

Shares of casino operator Caesars Entertainment Corp jumped 15.7% after rival Eldorado Resorts Inc said it had agreed to buy the company for $8.5 billion. Shares of Eldorado fell 11.4%.

United Technologies Corp gained 1.4% after Cowen & Co upgraded the building and aerospace supplier to “outperform” from “market perform”.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.12-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.55-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 35 new 52-week highs and four new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 41 new highs and 57 new lows.

Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva

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