January 11, 2017 / 6:34 PM / 8 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St drops with pharma stocks as Trump blasts drug prices

* Pharma “getting away with murder” on high prices-Trump

* Health stock set to snap six-day winning streak

* Biotechs on track for worst day since Brexit vote

* Vix jumps by biggest margin in nearly two weeks

* Indexes down: Dow 0.03 pct, S&P 0.25 pct, Nasdaq 0.42 pct (Adds details, comments, updates prices)

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

Jan 11 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks lost ground in choppy trading on Wednesday, led by drug stocks after Donald Trump said pharmaceutical companies were “getting away with murder” by charging high drug prices.

The President-elect, in his first formal news conference since his election victory, said he has also discussed making it easier to import drugs at cheaper prices.

The S&P 500 healthcare index reversed course following Trump’s remarks and was down about 1.8 percent, on track for its worst day since Oct. 28.

The Nasdaq biotechnology index sank 3.8 percent and was on track for its worst day since June 24, a day after the Brexit vote.

Both indexes are on track to snap a six-day winning streak.

“The healthcare space is definitely going to be a vertical in the market that is going to see some volatility and it is going to be day-to-day,” said Peter Kenny, senior market strategist at Global Markets Advisory Group, in New York.

At 13:19 p.m. ET (1819 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 6.91 points, or 0.03 percent, at 19,848.62.

The S&P 500 was down 5.7 points, or 0.25 percent, at 2,263.2 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 23.47 points, or 0.42 percent, at 5,528.35.

The CBOE Volatility index, also called Wall Street’s “fear gauge”, ticked up 4.6 percent - its biggest rise in nearly two weeks.

“In times like this the expectation is for an erratic, choppy environment, however we have not got anything earth shattering,” said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

Four of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, five were higher and the rest were flat.

Helping limit losses was a spike in energy stocks, which rose 1 percent as crude prices jumped 3.4 percent.

Another stock hit by Trump’s remarks was Lockheed Martin , which fell 1.3 percent after he said the F-35 fighter jet program “is way behind schedule and billions over budget.”

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,634 to 1,235. On the Nasdaq, 1,620 issues fell and 1,147 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed 15 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 78 new highs and 14 new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru, Additional reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)

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