NEW YORK (AP) – A rebound in health care companies helped steady the stock market on Tuesday, a day after a big sell-off. Drugmakers including Biogen and Vertex Pharmaceuticals were among the biggest gainers. Materials stocks, another sector that posted big losses on Monday, also rose.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose one point, or less than 0.01 percent, to 1,882 as of 12:20 p.m. Eastern time. The index slumped 50 points the day before. The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 10 points to 15,988. The Nasdaq composite was also little changed at 4,544.
PHARMA: Drugmakers have been a weak spot for the market recently as investors worry that lawmakers will introduce new regulations to control prices in the industry. On Tuesday, the sector rose, putting the Nasdaq biotechnology index on track for its first gain in eight days.
THE QUOTE: Brad Sorensen, a director at the Schwab Center for Financial Research, said he wasn’t surprised by the sell-off in biotech stocks given how sharply valuations have climbed in recent years.
“The biotech industry was concerning to us,” Sorensen said. “It clearly had bubble-like characteristics with a lot of speculative money moving into it and a lot of IPOs.”
SOUR COCKTAIL: Worries over China have resurfaced in recent days, pushing commodity prices lower and hitting the stocks of mining companies. The fallout from Volkswagen’s emissions-rigging scandal is also a worry as investors fear a regulatory clampdown on the industry. At the same time, Federal Reserve officials are signaling that they will raise U.S. interest rates this year, marking the beginning of the end of ultra-low interest rates that have underpinned stock markets for the past six years.
MORE CONFIDENT: Investors got some good news on the economy from a report showed that American consumers were feeling more confident this month. The Conference Board, a business research group, said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index rose again to 103 in September after surging in August to 101.3. The September reading was the highest since January.
EUROPE’S DAY: In Europe, Germany’s DAX edged down 0.3 percent and the CAC-40 in France was down by the same amount. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares lost 0.8 percent.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 88 cents to $45.31 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent Crude, a benchmark for international oils, was up 90 cents at $48.91 a barrel in London.
BONDS AND CURRENCIES: Bond prices rose slightly. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note edged down to 2.06 percent from 2.09 percent a day earlier. The euro edged up to $1.1248 and the dollar slipped to 119.68 yen.