Stocks off Session Highs as Biotech Shares Sink

By MarketsFOXBusiness

FOX Business: Capitalism Lives Here

U.S. equity markets fell significantly from session highs on Monday as biotechnology shares -- the subject of a big selloff last week -- came under pressure.

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Today's Markets

As of 3:10 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 65.6 points, or 0.41%, to 16093, the S&P 500 rose 5.2 points, or 0.28%, to 1821 and the Nasdaq Composite declined 4 points, or 0.11%, to 3995.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq tumbled 3.1% last week in its worst slump since 2012. The broader S&P 500 also took its worst hit in close to two years, sinking 2.7%. The move was driven by a selloff in once high-flying growth stocks, particularly in the biotechnology and technology sectors.

As this week kicks off, traders received upbeat data on the economy.

The Commerce Department said retail sales in March rose 1.1%, the biggest rise since September 2012, surpassing the 0.8% estimate. Excluding the auto segment, sales rose 0.7%, beating estimates of a 0.5% increase.

Economists broadly expect the U.S. economy to have started recovering last month from the winter slowdown that affected many sectors.

"The bottom line is that [Monday's] report is but the latest piece of evidence that the economy was unduly hampered by poor weather earlier in the year and as we progress through 2014, things should improve from there," Dan Greenhaus, chief strategist at BTIG, wrote in an email to clients.

Still, biotech shares continued moving sharply lower, with the Nasdaq biotech index sliding 1.5% and the health-care sector leading the S&P 500 lower.

On the corporate front, Citigroup (NYSE:C) posted better-than-expected first-quarter results on the top and bottom lines. The No. 3 U.S. has taken the spotlight recently after failing a portion of the Federal Reserve's stress tests and revealing a fraud in its Mexico subsidiary.

TIAA-CREF said it will buy Nuveen Investments for $6.25 billion, including debt, in a deal that will make a money manager with $800 billion in assets under management, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Elsewhere, U.S. crude oil futures fell 13 cents, or 0.13%, to $103.61 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline rose 0.13% to $3.018 a gallon. Gold climbed $3.30, or 0.25%, to $1,322 a troy ounce.

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