Weak oil weighs on Dow but biotech gains boost Nasdaq

NEW YORK (AFP) – Wall Street investors punished petroleum-linked equities on falling oil prices Wednesday (June 21), but gains by pharmaceutical and biotech shares helped lift the Nasdaq.

US oil prices ended at their lowest level since August on growing worries about excess crude supply, pushing Dow member Chevron down 1.9 percent and Halliburton 2.7 per cent.

But that movement was countered by strong gains in pharmaceutical equities in expectations that President Donald Trump’s moves to crack down on runaway drug prices would not be as aggressive as feared.

Both Pfizer and Merck gained one percent or more, while biotech companies Biogen and Celgene shot up 4.7 per cent and 5.2 per cent, respectively.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at 21,410.03, up 0.3 per cent.

The broad-based S&P 500 lost 0.1 per cent at 2,435.61, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.7 per cent to 6,233.95.

Nike climbed 2 per cent following reports it has reached an agreement to sell shoes to Amazon, which gained 1.per cent. The news hit retailers Dick’s Sporting Goods, which lost 3.8 per cent, and Foot Locker, which slumped 5 per cent. Nike rival Under Armour fell 1.4 per cent.

FedEx rose 1.1 per cent after it said it was weighing whether to increase charges during peak holiday shopping season. Net income for the fourth quarter came in at US$1 billion (S$1.4 billion), compared to a loss of US$70 million in the year-ago period.

Adobe Systems rose 2.4 per cent after reporting second-quarter net income rose 53.4 per cent to US$374.4 million on record quarterly revenues.