Wall Street ends choppy session higher, health lags on Trump comments

US stocks ended higher after a choppy day on Wednesday as energy and technology gains countered a drop in healthcare stocks after President-elect Donald Trump said pharmaceutical companies were 'getting away with murder' by charging high prices.

UNITED STATES (REUTERS) - A choppy trading day for the US markets but the Nasdaq came back from negative territory to close at another record high.

It had fallen as investors fled drug stocks when President-elect Donald Trump criticized the sector for its high prices in his first press conference since the election.

Trump's comments were a focus for traders.

Meridian Equity Partners Jonathan Corpina said, "You could definitely see that trading did slow down a little bit and people were definitely listening to what he had to say. What comments was he going to make about certain topics, certain events, certain sectors, and how that was going to have an effect on the markets."

Another example of the Trump impact: Lockheed Martin stock fell when Trump said the F-35 fighter jet program "is way behind schedule and billions over budget."

Volkswagen has agreed to plead guilty to US charges it cheated on diesel emissions tests for a decade, accepting the largest fine on an automaker ever. A federal grand jury indicted six former VW executives for involvement in the conspiracy.

In Europe, the major country indexes pared gains after the Trump comments but still closed to the upside.