After Market: High Techs and Biotechs Drag Indexes Down


Biotech and health care stocks looked like they needed a transfusion of market confidence Monday, as for the second session in a row, their performance was anemic. Investors are trying to determine if we're at the start of a longer-term rotation out of the group, or whether those falling values only reflect a surge of profit-taking.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 26 points, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) lost 9, and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) slid 50 points.

A lot of big-name tech stocks led the Nasdaq's decline. Netflix (NFLX) dropped nearly 7 percent, Facebook (FB), LinkedIn (LNKD) and Twitter (TWTR) all lost about 4 percent. Google (GOOG), Amazon (AMZN), Priceline (PCLN) and Yahoo (YHOO) all lost about 3 percent. Tesla (TSLA) was also a drag on the Nasdaq, losing 5 percent.

And another recent high-flier -– the cyber-security firm FireEye (FEYE) -- fell 7 percent. However, even though it has lost ground this month, the stock is still up 80 percent from a year ago.

But Apple (AAPL) bucked the downtrend, gaining more than 1 percent. The Wall Street Journal says it's working on a deal with cable giant Comcast (CMCSK) involving a streaming TV service, and there are reports that Apple is about to launch an iTunes radio app for Android users. That pressured Pandora (P), which fell 8 percent.

As for the biotech sector, it was across the board selling. Amgen (AMGN) fell 1 percent and Biogen (BIIB) lost 2 percent.

In the health care and pharmaceutical sector, Incyte (INCY) dropped 7 percent, Alexion (ALXN) down 6 percent, and Pharmacyclics (PCYC) down 4 percent. Even the big boys took a hit. Pfizer (PFE) lost 2 percent Merck (MRK) lost 1 percent.

Even though it was a down day, there were some gainers. Among the blue chips, high-dividend paying companies did well. Procter & Gamble (PG) gained nearly 2 percent. JPMorgan (JPM) and IBM (IBM) both gained 1 percent.

Elsewhere, Nu-Skin (NUS) jumped 18 percent as sanctions by Chinese regulators were milder than expected. And Lions Gate (LGF) rose 3 percent after "Divergent" enjoyed a strong opening weekend at the box office.

What to Watch Tuesday:

  • Standard & Poor's releases the S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices for January at 9 a.m. Eastern time.

  • At 10 a.m., the Commerce Department releases new home sales for February, and the Conference Board releases the Consumer Confidence Index for March.

These major companies are scheduled to report quarterly financial results:

  • Carnival (CCL)

  • Five Below (FIVE)

  • G-III Apparel (GIII)

  • McCormick & Co. (MKC)

  • Steelcase (SCS)

  • Walgreen (WAG)

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.