Health care stocks slide as GOP bill fails

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Health care stocks fell Tuesday as investors attempted to discern the impact of the GOP’s failure to pass a health care reform bill through the U.S. Senate.

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Health insurers declined. Humana fell $3.02, or 1.3 percent, to $234.54 and Cigna retreated $2.72, or 1.6 percent, to $171.47. UnitedHealth, the largest company in the industry, reported strong second-quarter results and raised its annual outlook. It gained 76 cents to $187.11.

Drug and biotech companies also mostly traded lower, as did hospital operators.

The Senate Republican health care bill suffered a potentially fatal setback late Monday when two more GOP senators announced they opposed it, which meant the proposal does not have enough support to proceed to a full vote. Senate leaders said they will next try to repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act without creating a replacement, but that does not appear to have enough votes to pass either.

President Donald Trump told reporters that he is “disappointed” in the GOP’s failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, adding that it is time to “let Obamacare fail.”

“We were let down by all of the Democrats and a few Republicans,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Most Republicans were loyal, terrific & worked really hard. We will return!”

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U.S. stock indexes are little changed Tuesday as banks and energy companies slump. Technology and consumer-focused companies are rising, and streaming video company Netflix is surging after it gained more than 5 million subscribers in the second quarter. 

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index slid 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 2,457 as of 2:30 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 70 points, or 0.3 percent, to 21,559. The Nasdaq composite climbed 20 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,334 as technology companies like Facebook and Alphabet, the parent of Google, rose. The index is on track for a record-high close.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 5 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,426. The Russell 2000 closed at an all-time high Monday while the Dow and S&P 500 set records Friday. Most of the companies on the New York Stock Exchange traded lower.

BIG PICTURE: Early this year investors saw the effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act as a test of Republicans' ability to work together. If they were successful in that work, it seemed like they would be able to pass tax cuts and potentially an infrastructure spending bill as well. But as Republicans in Congress struggled for months with their health care plans, investors grew less hopeful about them.

"Tax changes aren't likely to take place any time soon and are likely to be smaller than they hoped," said Kate Warne, an investment strategist for Edward Jones.

BANKS: Several major banks reported strong second-quarter results Tuesday as interest rates kept rising, but that wasn't enough to get investors excited. Bank of America and Goldman Sachs both said their trading businesses struggled, as the market has been calm for months.

Banks did very well in the first quarter. Warne said investors may have been caught off guard that the second quarter doesn't look as good.

"When they're not benefiting as much as expected from higher interest rates, I think that makes investors more cautious about what results will look like going forward," Warne said.

Goldman lost $5.88, or 2.6 percent, to $223.38 and Comerica, which also topped estimates, fell $1.25, or 1.7 percent, to $73.27. Bank of America declined 13 cents to $23.89.

STILL WATCHING: Netflix jumped after the company said it added 5.2 million subscribers over the last three months, and for the first time, it has more subscribers outside the U.S. than in it. The second quarter is usually a slow period for Netflix, so investors were pleased to see the healthy gain. Netflix gained $23.24, or 14.4 percent, to $184.94. Among other consumer companies, Amazon added $15.51, or 1.5 percent, to $1,025.55.

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DOLLAR DIVES: The dollar slipped again. It has steadily lost ground for most of this year and the ICE US dollar index is now at its lowest level since August. The dollar slid to 112 yen from 112.66 yen. The euro rose to $1.1563 from $1.1480. The euro hasn't been this strong compared to the dollar since early 2015.

BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slid to 2.27 percent from 2.31 percent. That helped send bank stocks lower. High-dividend stocks like utilities and household goods makers did better than the rest of the market as lower bond yields made them more appealing to investors seeking income.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 38 cents to $46.40 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 40 cents to $48.82 a barrel in London.

Wholesale gasoline rose 2 cents to $1.58 a gallon. Heating oil added 1 cent to $1.51 a gallon. Natural gas added 7 cents to $3.09 per 1,000 cubic feet.

METALS: Gold gained $8.20 to $1,241.90 an ounce. Silver rose 17 cents, or 1 percent, to $16.27 an ounce. Copper added 1 cent to $2.73 a pound.

OVERSEAS: The DAX in Germany dropped 1.2 percent and France's CAC 40 fell 1.1 percent. The British FTSE 100 index slipped 0.2 percent. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.6 percent as the yen gained against the dollar. The Kospi in South Korea was flat. Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 0.2 percent.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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