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US Stocks Slightly Lower on Healthcare 05/06 09:39

5/6/2021 - 09:41:00

US Stocks Slightly Lower on Healthcare 05/06 09:39

   Stocks were mostly lower in early trading Thursday. Healthcare stocks were 
among the biggest decliners after news last night that the White House supports 
waiving intellectual property rights for coronavirus vaccines to help immunize 
poorer countries faster.

   NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks were mostly lower in early trading Thursday. 
Healthcare stocks were among the biggest decliners after news last night that 
the White House supports waiving intellectual property rights for coronavirus 
vaccines to help immunize poorer countries faster.

   The S&P 500 index lost 0.3% as of 10:10 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones 
Industrial Average fell 0.1% and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.7%.

   Shares of drugmaker Moderna lost 9% after the company reported its 
first-ever quarterly profit, helped by the company's coronavirus vaccine. The 
drop was largely tied to the news from the White House, as shares of other drug 
companies like Pfizer and Merck were down 2% and 1%, respectively.

   Shares of Johnson & Johnson fell much less than the other vaccine makers, 
partly because J&J has other businesses like Band-Aids, the pain reliever 
Tylenol and its baby products franchise.

   Investors remain focused on corporate earnings, with results from Wall 
Street Journal publisher News Corp after the closing bell, and results from 
Cigna, Equifax and insurance giant AIG on Friday. Of the S&P 500 companies 
reporting so far, 84% topped analysts' expectations, according to FactSet.

   Investors' attention is turning to Friday's jobs report for April. 
Economists expect the data to show employers hired 975,000 workers last month 
as the economy accelerated out of the pandemic and vaccines rolled out 
nationwide. The unemployment rate is expected to drop to 5.8% from 6%.

   There have already been signs that the labor market is improving. The Labor 
Department said Thursday that the number of Americans who filed for 
unemployment benefits last week fell to a pandemic low of 498,000. The payroll 
processing company ADP said Wednesday that private employers hired 742,000 
workers last month.