On The Fly: Top stock stories for Thursday
Stocks began the session little changed, moved into positive ground by midday with the healthcare sector leading the way, then gave back their gains into the close to finish not far from where they started. Oil prices got off to a good start but the rally fizzled and the commodity pared its gains to close with an advance of about 0.5%. The market has been in a holding pattern this week as the lack of major news flow and few impactful earnings reports has kept stocks from advancing beyond their recent record highs. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., initial jobless claims rose 3,000 to 241,000 in the week ended June 17. The FHFA home price index rose 0.7% in April to 248.2. The leading index rose 0.3% to an all time high of 127.0 in May. COMPANY NEWS: Hospital stocks and shares of health insurers are higher across the board after Republican leaders in the Senate released a draft of their proposed bill to repeal-and-replace the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as "ObamaCare." Hospital operators that saw strength include HCA Holdings (HCA), LifePoint (LPNT) and Tenet Healthcare (THC), while health insurers UnitedHealth (UNH), Humana (HUM) and Aetna (AET) all saw modest gains... Shares of American Airlines (AAL) closed about 1% higher, though that is well off the stock's early morning levels, after the company disclosed that state-owned Qatar Airways has expressed its interest in acquiring an approximately 10% stake in the U.S. air carrier... Meanwhile, shares of Rite Aid (RAD) fell more than 3.5% after Bloomberg reported that Capitol Forum said that the Federal Trade Commission's Tad Lipsky is recommending a vote to block Walgreens' (WBA) takeover deal. Shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance declined over 2%. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Oracle (ORCL), which jumped about 8.5% and saw many Wall Street firms raise their price targets on the stock following the company's report of better than expected Q4 results. Also higher was Staples (SPLS), which gained 6% after Reuters reported that buyout firm Sycamore Partners is in advanced discussions to acquire the office supply retailer. Additionally, Nordstrom (JWN) rose 3% after CNBC reported that the Nordstrom family plans to move ahead with finding a private equity buyer for the department store chain. Among the noteworthy losers was Weibo (WB), which fell 6% after China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television issued a notice requiring platforms that do not have the Internet Audio-Visual Program Transmission License to suspend video broadcasting service. Also lower following their earnings reports were Steelcase (SCS), which dropped 14%, and Accenture (ACN), which slid 4%. INDEXES: The Dow fell 12.74, or 0.06%, to 21,397.29, the Nasdaq gained 2.73, or 0.04%, to 6,236.69, and the S&P 500 declined 1.11, or 0.05%, to 2,434.50.