Stocks tumbled in trading on Wednesday after weak economic data and a biotech beatdown.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq took the worst of it, as Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton went after the pharmaceutical industry’s history of price hikes for drugs following the recent congressional uproar over the price of allergy device EpiPen. Biotechs are weighted more heavily in the index.
Despite the drops, the streak of 33 days in a row without a 1% move in either direction by the S&P 500 remained intact.
We’ve got a busy day of headlines for you, but first, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 18,484.36, -62.94, (-0.34%)
- S&P 500: 2,175.61, -11.29, (-0.52%)
- Nasdaq: 5,217.69, -42.38, (-0.81%)
- WTI crude oil: $46.73, -$1.37 (-2.85%)
- Comments from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on the EpiPen controversy hit biotech stocks. Clinton’s said drugmakers’ price hikes were “outrageous,” sending shares of biotech and pharmaceutical companies tumbling.
- Commodities got crushed. Oil tumbled on Wednesday after reports from the Energy Information Administration showed that crude stockpiles were still increasing. Gold and silver also sold off.
- Existing home sales tanked. Sales of existing homes fell by 3.2% in August from the month before, well below economists expectations of a mere 0.4% drop. The National Association of Realtors, which releases the data, blamed the drop on “frustratingly low inventory levels.”
- Home prices signalled a “potentially significant market shift.” House prices in the US only rose by 0.2% in June, below expectations of 0.3%, according to the Federal Housing Finance agency. Andrew Leventis, FHFA supervisory economist, said this slowing in house price appreciation was “a much more modest pace of appreciation than we’ve seen in some time”
- Retailer Express missed on earnings and the stock dived. Shares fell as much as 25% after it posted earnings of $0.13 per share against analyst expectations of $0.17 per share. Sales also fell by 8% in stores open for more than one year compared to the same period in the prior year.
- Tennessee’s Obamacare regulator said that the exchanges are “very near collapse” in the state. Julie Mix McPeak, the commissioner for Tennessee’s Department of Commerce and Insurance, told Nashville’s The Tennessean that the number of insurance companies that are pulling out of the state is putting the Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges on the brink.