Health care companies lead stocks lower after two-day rally

New York Stock Exchange
The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are lower Tuesday morning as health care companies slump. Distributors of prescription drugs and medical suppliers are falling after The Wall Street Journal reported that drugstore chain Walgreens wants to buy the rest of AmerisourcerBergen, a drug distributor, and that Amazon is preparing a bigger push into medical supply distribution. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed almost 3 percent from Friday through Monday after a 10 percent plunge over the previous two weeks.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 fell 10 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,645 as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 114 points, or 0.5 percent, to 24,486. The Nasdaq composite slid 18 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,963. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks declined 8 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,483.

HEALTH SCARE: AmerisourceBergen jumped $9.85, or 11 percent, to $99.30 following the report that Walgreens Boots Alliance wants to take the company over. It already owns a 26 percent stake in AmerisourceBergen, which is one of the largest prescription drug distributors in the U.S. and also distributes products to hospitals and other health systems. The Wall Street Journal said Walgreens reached out several weeks ago about a deal but that no offer has been made. Walgreens added $1.08, or 1.6 percent, to $69.54.

Separately, the Journal reported that Amazon is looking to win over hospitals and clinics to distribute a variety of medical items. Amazon rose $10.77 to $1,397 while dental and medical supply company Patterson sank $2.51, or 7.6 percent, to $30.41. Two other distributors of prescription drugs also fell, as Cardinal Health lost $2.99, or 4.4 percent, to $65.04 and McKesson shed $4.79, or 3.2 percent, to $144.23.

In January Amazon announced a partnership with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway aimed at reducing health care costs. It’s widely believed to have designs on a larger role in the health care system.

ON THE REBOUND: Under Armour climbed after it reported better-than-expected sales as shoe and accessory revenue picked up. The stock had plunged 50 percent in 2017 on top of a 30 percent decline in 2016. It rose $2.75, or 19.3 percent, to $16.98 on Tuesday.

Meal kit company Blue Apron, which had fallen hard since it went public in June, took a smaller loss than analysts expected and posted stronger revenue. The stock rose 28 cents, or 8.5 percent, to $3.64. It went public at $10 a share in late June.

PUMP IT UP: Nutrition supplement company GNC Holdings soared 89 cents, or 21.4 percent, to $5.09 after it formed a joint venture with Harbin Pharmaceutical Group of China. Harbin is investing $300 million in GNC, which will make it the company’s largest shareholder.

OIL: Energy companies declined as benchmark U.S. crude fell 66 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $58.62 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dropped 59 cents to $62.10 a barrel in London.

BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.85 percent from 2.86 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 107.67 yen from 108.67 yen. The euro rose to $1.2358 from $1.2284.

OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX shed 0.4 percent and the CAC 40 of France fell 0.3 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 was little changed. Japan’s Nikkei 225 lost 0.7 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added 1.4 percent. South Korea’s Kospi rose 1.1 percent.

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AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/marley%20jayt .

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