Utilities and energy stocks led the way lower. The markets erased earlier gains sparked by strong consumer spending. Fred Katayama reports.
Markets shifted into reverse, falling for the second straight day. Energy and utilities shares led the way lower. Earlier in the session, stocks rose after news that consumer spending recorded its largest increase in nearly six years. The economy continues to tighten. The four-week jobless claims average fell in the latest reading, even though for the week, jobless claims rose by a few thousand. Nike shares sprinted higher in after-hours trading. The athletic apparel maker's quarterly profit soared and crushed analysts' estimates. Also well received: news that the U.S. Supreme Court backed a key part of Obamacare, lifting health care related stocks. Top gainers included hospital companies Tenet Healthcare Corp and Community Health Systems. The ruling upheld the nationwide availability of tax subsidies. Those are crucial to the Affordable Care Act, because it won't restrict the subsidies to patients in states that establish their own healthcare exchanges. Brookings Institution's senior fellow Henry Aaron: SOUNDBITE: HENRY AARON, SENIOR FELLOW, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION (ENGLISH) SAYING "I think, the Affordable Care Act has been good news for people who are in the health care industry. By extending coverage to more people, some with the tax credits that were affirmed by today's decision, it means there are more customers for insurance companies, for hospitals. It means that more people are going to be able to pay their bills, rather than having to receive uncompensated care." That ruling also gave a lift to health insurers, but Aetna and Humana investors had another reason: Bloomberg reported that Aetna is close to buying Humana, which prefers Aetna over Cigna's offer. Drug maker Zoetis' shares rose sharply just before trading was halted for volatility. Dow Jones reported that Valeant has made a takeover bid for Zoetis. Investors cheered IAC/Interactive's decision to spin off its dating business into its own publicly traded company. The IPO of The Match Group will include dating sites Match.com, Tinder, OK Cupid, as well as educational company The Princeton Review, and app DailyBurn. IAC is controlled by media mogul Barry Diller. Sales of the Nook e-reading device continue to plunge at Barnes and Noble. The book seller reported a fall in revenue for the fourth consecutive quarter, as it loses more and more business to Amazon and its Kindle reading devices. In Europe, shares recovered from their worst losses despite continued concerns about Greece's debt. But they closed mixed.