Healthcare stocks were among the most active after company news
while utilities <.SPLRCU> was the worst performer of the 10 industry
groups on the S&P 500.
The S&P 500 held above key technical indicators including its 14-day
moving average, and volume remained below average even for a
"It's a bit of consolidation after a run-up to new highs. There's no
reason to think this is anything different than that," said Paul
Zemsky, head of asset allocation at ING Investment Management in New
A number of Fed policymakers suggested on Monday the U.S. central
bank may be closer than previously thought to trimming its $85
billion a month in bond purchases. But stronger economic data of
late, including a drop in the unemployment rate to a five-year low,
helped ease investors' angst over a pullback in the Fed's stimulus.
"Monetary policy responds to changes in the economy and as long as
the economy is better, tapering shouldn't be too difficult to
endure," said Kevin Caron, market strategist at Stifel, Nicolaus &
Co in Florham Park, New Jersey.
The Fed's policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee meets Tuesday
and Wednesday next week.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> fell 52.4 points or 0.33
percent, to 15,973.13, the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 5.75 points or 0.32
percent, to 1,802.62 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 8.261
points or 0.2 percent, to 4,060.49.
Twitter <TWTR.N> hit an all-time high of $52.58, more than doubling
its $26 initial price in early November and extending Monday's gains
after a spate of product announcements that could boost its
revenues. Shares closed up 5.8 percent at $51.99.
Other Internet stocks also performed well on Tuesday with Facebook <FB.O>
up 2.9 percent to $50.25 and Yahoo <YHOO.O> up 3.5 percent to
AbbVie <ABBV.N> shares hit a record high of $54.11 after its
all-oral hepatitis C therapy cured 96 percent of difficult-to-treat
patients in a late-stage clinical trial, keeping the company well
placed in a highly competitive race to deliver new treatments for
the serious liver disease. Shares ended up 1.8 percent at $52.14.
[to top of second column]
Also in the healthcare orbit, pharmacy chain CVS Caremark <CVS.N>
and pharmaceutical distributor Cardinal Health <CAH.N> announced a
10-year agreement to form the largest generic drug operation in the
United States, the world's biggest generic drug market.
Cardinal Health closed up 3 percent at $66.22 and CVS added 1.9
percent to $67.99.
Shares of Rambus Inc <RMBS.O> jumped 12.3 percent to $9.58 after the
company settled a patent dispute with Micron Technology <MU.O>.
General Motors Co <GM.N> stock fell 1.2 percent to $40.40. The
automaker said Chief Executive Dan Akerson will step down next month
and be replaced by Mary Barra, the company's global product
About 5.8 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, below the
6.1 billion average so far this month, according to data from BATS
Advancers trailed decliners on the New York Stock Exchange by about
2 to 3, while on Nasdaq almost two issues fell for every one that
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; editing by
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