US stocks edged lower on Friday as Apple weighed and investors eyed the progress of a healthcare bill in Washington on top of concerns about North Korea and the upcoming corporate earnings season.
Healthcare stocks were volatile as Republicans sought support for their latest effort to replace President Barack Obama’s law. Insurers regained some ground after Republican Senator John McCain opposed the bill.
The S&P technology sector and the Nasdaq were weighed down by a 1 percent fall in Apple shares as its iPhone 8 launch kicked off in a less lively mood in Asia.
At 3:00 pm ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 32.31 points, or 0.14 per cent, to 22,326.92, the S&P 500 lost 0.77 points, or 0.03 per cent, to 2,499.83 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.54 points, or 0.01 per cent, to 6,423.23.
Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower in late afternoon trading, with utilities leading the decliners.
After falling as much as 0.5 per cent, the healthcare sector pared losses and was last down 0.07 per cent.
Uncertainty over the healthcare bill took a toll on health insurers with UnitedHealth down 1.6 per cent.
The small telecom services index, with only four stocks, was the biggest percentage gainer with a 1.4 per cent rise on consolidation speculation while the energy index was up 0.4 per cent.
T-Mobile rose 1.0 per cent after Reuters reported the company was close to agreeing tentative terms on a deal to merge with Sprint, whose shares jumped 5.0 per cent.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,750 to 1,048. On the Nasdaq, 1,644 issues rose and 1,130 fell.
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