Health care, industrial companies lead stocks lower

Losses for health care companies and banks left US stocks lower Monday after a quiet day of trading. General Electric skidded after announcing more leadership changes.

Companies that distribute or sell prescription drugs continued to slide following speculation that Amazon plans to get into that business.

Banks dipped after a big rally over the last month, and technology companies continued to climb. Smaller, more domestically focused companies declined as investors tried to gauge the odds for tax cuts.


Stocks have rallied over the last two weeks as investors hope that tax cuts proposed by the Trump administration and congressional Republicans will boost corporate profits. But over the weekend President Trump entered a war of words with Senator Bob Corker, a retiring Republican who has a reputation as a budget hawk. Republicans have a narrow majority and losing just a few votes could derail a bill.

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The Standard & Poor’s 500 index declined 0.2 percent, to 2,544.73. The Dow Jones industrial average shed less than 0.1 percent, to 22,761.07. The Nasdaq Composite fell 0.2 percent, to 6,579.73, which ended a nine-day winning streak. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks lost 0.4 percent, to 1,503.56.

Stock trading was light because of the Columbus Day holiday. US bond trading was closed.

General Electric slipped after it named Ed Garden of Trian Fund Management to its board of directors. Trian, a well-known activist investment firm founded by Nelson Peltz, has been pushing the conglomerate to slim down. GE lost 3.9 percent, to $23.43. It’s down 26 percent this year.

GE has announced slew of changes in its leadership this month. John Flannery replaced Jeffrey Immelt as CEO a week ago, several months ahead of schedule. On Friday, GE said chief financial officer Jeffrey Bornstein will leave at the end of the month. Two vice chairs are also retiring.


Companies that distribute or sell prescription medicines or administer prescription drug benefits tumbled for a second day as investors continued to worry about Amazon’s plans. Amazon has declined to comment.

Pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts lost 5 percent, and prescription drug distributor McKesson dropped 2.1 percent, while Walgreens gave up 3.2 percent, its lowest close in more than a year and a half.

Medtronic gave up 3.6 percent; it said late Friday that Hurricane Maria will reduce its quarterly profit and revenue. Medtronic has four facilities in Puerto Rico that were damaged.

Third-quarter earnings reports start this week; investors expect continued strong results from technology companies. The industry has led the market higher for most of this year. Chip maker Nvidia added 2.3 percent Monday, and cloud computing company Citrix Systems gained 1.4 percent.

Electric car maker Tesla declined after The Wall Street Journal reported on the company’s struggles in producing its new, lower-priced Model 3 Sedan. The Journal said workers were making some Model 3 parts by hand as recently as September. Last week, Tesla missed its third-quarter production goals. The stock fell 3.9 percent.