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US STOCKS-Wall St edges down as healthcare stocks hit by budget plan
March 16, 2017 / 5:02 PM / 8 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St edges down as healthcare stocks hit by budget plan

* Biogen falls on downgrade; top drag on S&P

* Oracle top boost to technology sector

* Dow down 0.06 pct, S&P down 0.12 pct, Nasdaq up 0.03 pct (Updates to early afternoon)

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

March 16 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks slipped on Thursday pressured by healthcare shares after proposals in President Donald Trump’s budget signaled higher regulatory costs for the sector and a cut in federal funding for medical research.

For 2018, the Trump administration has budgeted over $2 billion in fees to be collected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from the industry, twice as much as in 2017, according to proposed budget documents released on Thursday.

The proposal calls for a scale back to the National Institutes of Health budget by nearly 20 percent and said industries that benefit from the FDA’s approval “can and should pay for their share.”

The S&P 500 healthcare index dropped more than 1 percent, underperforming the broader market.

Biogen weighed down the Nasdaq, after two brokerages downgraded the stock, while AbbVie was the biggest drag on the S&P 500.

Gains in technology and finance helped stem overall losses.

Bank stocks got a boost after the Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised interest rates for the first time this year.

The S&P 500 financial index was the top gainer with a 0.35 percent increase.

Oracle surged to a record high of $46.99 and supported the S&P after the business software maker issued a better-than-expected quarterly profit.

“There is certainly the element of profit taking today,” said Marcelle Daher, senior managing director, asset allocation at Manulife Asset Management in Boston, Massachusetts.

At 12:29 p.m. ET (1629 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 13.09 points, or 0.06 percent, at 20,937.01, the S&P 500 was down 2.85 points, or 0.12 percent, at 2,382.41 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 1.70 points, or 0.03 percent, at 5,901.75.

Shares of Tesla rose 2.8 percent after the electric carmaker said it would raise about $1.15 billion as the company speeds up the launch of its Model 3 sedan.

Tyson Foods slipped 2.9 percent on news that a form of bird flu that is highly lethal for poultry had infected a second commercial chicken flock.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,630 to 1,232. On the Nasdaq, 1,655 issues rose and 1,068 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 49 stocks hitting 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 133 new highs and 41 fresh lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D‘Silva & Shri Navaratnam)

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