NEW YORK >> U.S. stocks are lower Monday as health care and industrial companies fall. General Electric skidded after announcing more changes in its leadership. Companies that distribute or sell prescription drugs continue to slide and banks are down after a big rally over the last month.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dipped 4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,544 as of 3 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average shed 18 points, or 0.1 percent, to 22,755. The Nasdaq composite fell 8 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,581. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks lost 6 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,503.
Stock trading has been light because of the Columbus Day holiday and U.S. bond trading is closed. Stocks repeatedly set record highs last week as the S&P 500 rose for eight days in a row, its longest streak in four years.
HEALTH WOES: Health care companies did worse than the rest of the market. Companies that distribute or sell prescription medicines tumbled for a second day as investors continued to worry about Amazon entering the prescription drug business. Analysts raised that possibility Friday. Amazon has declined to comment.
Pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts lost $3.10, or 5 percent, to $59.26 and prescription drug distributor McKesson dropped $3.53, or 2.3 percent, to $147.76 while Walgreens gave up $1.85, or 2.5 percent, to $71.35. Walgreens stock hit annual low.
Medical device maker Medtronic gave up $2.68, or 3.4 percent, to $77.13. The company said late Friday that Hurricane Maria will reduce its quarterly profit and revenue by about $250 million. Medtronic has four facilities in Puerto Rico that were damaged by the storm and manufacturing won’t fully recover for weeks.
TAX COMPLICATIONS: Over the last two weeks investors have turned their attention to tax cuts proposed by the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans, which could boost corporate profits. But over the weekend President Donald Trump entered a war of words with Senator Bob Corker, a retiring Republican who has a reputation as a budget hawk. Since his party has only a narrow majority, that could make it harder to pass a bill.
“There really is not much leeway there,” said Mona Mahajan, U.S. investment strategist for Allianz Global Investors. “They somehow have to get their act together.”
TECH LEADS AGAIN: Third-quarter earnings reports will start later this week when major banks start announcing their results. Investors expect continued strong results from technology companies. The industry has led the market higher for most of this year. Chipmaker Nvidia added $4.23, or 2.3 percent, to $185.53 and DXC Technology gained $1.09, or 1.2 percent, to $88.53.
Three major hurricanes hit the U.S. in the last two months, and experts expect that to affect economic growth and corporate profits.
“One of the sectors that we think is going to get hit is the insurance sector because they’re going to be paying out all these claims,” said Mahajan. But historically, the economy bounces back from major storms a few months later as people rebuild damaged areas.
GE WHIZ, THAT STINGS: General Electric slipped after it named Ed Garden of Trian Fund Management to its board of directors. Trian, a well-known activist investment firm founded by Nelson Peltz, has been pushing the conglomerate to slim down. GE has announced a number of changes in its leadership since John Flannery replaced Jeffrey Immelt as its CEO. On Friday it said Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey Bornstein will leave at the end of the month. Two vice chairs are also retiring.
GE lost 91 cents, or 3.7 percent, to $23.48. It’s down 26 percent this year.
PUMP THE BRAKES: Electric car maker Tesla declined after the Wall Street Journal reported on the company’s struggles in producing its new, lower-priced Model 3 Sedan. The Journal reported Friday that Tesla workers were making some Model 3 parts by hand as recently as September. Last week Tesla missed its third-quarter production goals. The stock fell $8.89, or 2.5 percent, to $347.99.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 29 cents to $49.58 a barrel in New York as Tropical Storm Nate moved away from the Gulf Coast, where much of U.S. crude is drilled and processed. Nate hit Southeastern Louisiana Saturday evening and Mississippi on Sunday, but was downgraded to a tropical depression by midday Sunday.
Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 17 cents to $55.79 a barrel in London.
Chevron rose 46 cents to $117.49 and Phillips 66 picked up 52 cents to $93.34.
OTHER ENERGY TRADING: Wholesale gasoline stayed at $1.56 a gallon. Heating oil lost 1 cent to $1.74 a gallon. Natural gas shed 3 cents to $2.83 per 1,000 cubic feet.
METALS: Gold added $10.10 to $1,285 an ounce. Silver climbed 18 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $16.97 an ounce. Copper remained at $3.03 a pound.
CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 112.69 yen from 112.71 yen. The euro rose to $1.1752 from $1.1735.
OVERSEAS: The DAX in Germany rose 0.2 percent and the CAC 40 of France added 0.1 percent. The British FTSE 100 fell 0.2 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.5 percent. Markets in Japan and South Korea were closed for holidays.