S&P 500 Falls As Grocery Chains Stumble In Wake Of Amazon-Whole Foods Deal News

By Mark DeCambre Markets MarketWatch Pulse

The consumer-staples sector on Friday was dragging the S&P 500 index lower in early trading action, after Amazon.com Inc. announced plans to buy Whole Foods Market Market Inc. . Consumer staples, heavily populated by names like grocery chain Kroger Co. , Costco Wholesale Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. all were trading at least 5% lower. Amazon said it plans to purchase Whole Foods for $13.7 billion or $42 a share, marking one of the larger deals for Amazon run by billionaire Jeff Bezos. The consumer-staples group was down 1.5% and on track to book its worst daily drop since Nov. 30, according to FactSet data. The exchange-traded Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR ETF , which tracks the consumer-staples sector, was down 2.4% and pacing its worst one-day fall since Nov. 10. Consumer staples stocks were the worst performers among the S&P 500's 11 sectors. Elsewhere, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.1% at 21,337, while the Nasdaq Composite Index traded off 0.1% at 6,159.

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