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US STOCKS-S&P, Nasdaq weighed down by health, consumer stocks
November 3, 2015 / 3:13 PM / 2 years ago

US STOCKS-S&P, Nasdaq weighed down by health, consumer stocks

* Energy stocks help Dow eke out small gain

* AIG, Kellogg report lower-than-expected results

* King Digital jumps after Activision’s buyout offer

* Fitbit down on lockup restriction lift, share offering

* Dow up 0.01 pct, S&P down 0.24 pct, Nasdaq down 0.31 pct (Updates to open)

By Abhiram Nandakumar

Nov 3 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were marginally lower on Tuesday morning led by a decline in healthcare and consumer stocks, but a rally in oil stocks helped the Dow eke out a small gain.

Eight of the 10 major S&P sectors were lower, with the consumer staples sector down 1.1 percent and the healthcare sector down 0.8 percent.

A rally in healthcare and energy stocks on Monday had pushed the Nasdaq 100 to a 15-year high. All 10 S&P sectors had ended higher.

The energy sector was one of only two sectors to add to its gains on Tuesday. The sector was up 1.34 percent as oil prices recovered.

“This morning’s action is natural, quiet consolidation. It’s a digestion of yesterday’s strength,” said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

At 9:53 a.m. ET (1453 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 1.37 points, or 0.01 percent, at 17,830.13.

The S&P 500 was down 5.03 points, or 0.24 percent, at 2,099.02 and the Nasdaq Composite index was down 16.09 points, or 0.31 percent, at 5,111.06.

U.S. stocks are coming off their best monthly performance in four years in October.

Of the 352 S&P 500 companies that have reported third-quarter results so far, 71 percent have beaten profit estimates, compared with 63 percent in a typical quarter.

Strong results from blue-chips have helped lift sentiment. S&P 500 companies are now expected to report a 0.9 percent fall in profit, compared with the 4.9 percent drop forecast before the earnings season began, according to Thomson Reuters data.

AIG’s shares fell 4.3 percent to $61 after the insurer’s quarterly profit missed estimates by a wide margin. The stock was the biggest drag on the S&P 500.

Exxon was up 0.7 percent and Chevron 1.5 percent. Chevron gave the biggest boost to the Dow and both were the most influential on the S&P 500.

Agribusiness Archer Daniels Midland fell 8.3 percent to $42.44 after missing profit estimates and weighed the most on the consumer staples sector.

Kellogg slipped 3.4 percent to $68.24, while Sprint declined nearly 7 percent to $4.51, after both companies’ quarterly sales missed estimates.

King Digital soared 14.2 percent to $17.75 after Activision Blizzard agreed to buy the “Candy Crush Saga” creator for $5.9 billion. Activision was down 2.1 percent. King’s rival Zynga was up 3.3 percent.

Fitbit dropped 6.9 percent to $38 after the wearable fitness device maker agreed to lift lockup restrictions on over 2 million shares more than month before scheduled and announced a 21 million share offering.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,609 to 1,158. On the Nasdaq, 1,330 issues fell and 1,049 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed six new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 23 new highs and nine new lows. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)

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