A rally in healthcare stocks couldn't offset weakness in consumer and financial stocks on Thursday. Fred Katayama reports.
Healthcare stocks rallied, but weakness in consumer and financials pulled the Dow and S&P just below the break-even line Thursday. Investors bought stocks like United Health, Johnson and Johnson and Gilead after Senate Republicans unveiled their bill to repeal Obamacare. Carin Leong Pai of Fiduciary Trust: SOUNDBITE: CARIN LEONG PAI, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, FIDUCIARY TRUST INTERNATIONAL, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "What the market was fearful of earlier when the administration was talking about healthcare reform and repealing of Obamacare, the concern was that many millions of people would lose healthcare insurance. And that would mean a substantial drop in volume of drugs that are being purchased and also the number of patients that would be admitted to hospitals. I think this is more of a relief from that standpoint, and it certainly helps boost sentiment for the sector." The number of Americans filing jobless claims rose slightly last week. But it was at a level that's associated with a strong labor market. Big gainers on the S&P: Staples, Oracle and CarMax. Staples shares rose. Reuters has learned private equity firm Sycamore Partners is close to a deal to buy the U.S.' largest office supply retailer. Brokerage analysts raised their price targets on Oracle. The business software maker's quarterly profit rose sharply, and it issued an upbeat forecast. CarMax shares were upgraded to "outperform" from "sector perform" by RBC Capital, which also hiked their price target. Healthcare stocks also nudged the markets higher in Europe. But the FTSE 100 finished slightly down.