US stocks drop; hospitals surge on pro-Obamacare court ruling

NEW YORK (AFP) - Health stocks soared on Thursday after the Supreme Court upheld a key provision of President Barack Obama's health-care reform, but the broader market fell on worries of a Greek default.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 17,892.70, down 73.37 points (0.41 per cent).

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 6.08 (0.29 per cent) to 2,102.50, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index lost 10.22 (0.20 per cent) at 5,112.19.

Hospital stocks like HCA Holdings (+8.8 per cent) and Tenet Healthcare (+12.2 per cent) benefited from the Supreme Court ruling that the federal government has authority to subsidise health insurance by giving tax credits to consumers nationwide.

The provision is a key tenet of the Obama plan, guaranteeing insurance coverage to millions of Americans.

But Greece and its international creditors again failed to break the deadlock in emergency talks, again raising the prospect of a messy Greek debt default at the end of the month.