U.S. stocks drifted mostly lower in early trading Friday as investors reviewed the latest batch of corporate earnings and deal news. Health care stocks were among the biggest decliners.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average fell eight points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,723 as of 10:13 a.m. Eastern Time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped two points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,099. The Nasdaq composite gained seven points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,153.
REVENUE DRAG: Biogen Idec's second-quarter earnings beat Wall Street's forecasts, but the biotechnology company's revenue fell short. The stock slid $65.12, or 16.9 percent, to $319.93.
GETTING TOGETHER: Anthem has agreed to buy rival Cigna for $48 billion in a deal that would create the nation's largest health insurer by enrollment, covering about 53 million U.S patients. Investors did not immediately welcome the news. Anthem fell $4.56, or 2.9 percent, to $149.88, while Cigna lost $4.56, or 2.9 percent, to $150.75.
DELIVERING RESULTS: Amazon surged 16.1 percent a day after the e-commerce pioneer reported a surprise profit. The stock rose $77.66 to $559.73. Starbucks also served up strong earnings late Thursday. Its shares were up $1.91, or 3.4 percent, to $58.46.
MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany's DAX was down 0.5 percent, while the CAC-40 in France slipped 0.1 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares fell 0.4 percent. In Asia, investors were spooked by further evidence of a sizeable economic slowdown in China after a closely watched indicator of the country's manufacturing sector slumped to a 15-month low in July. China's Shanghai Composite Index sank 1.3 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 1.1 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.7 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.4 percent.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was up 9 cents at $48.54 a barrel in New York. Brent crude was down 17 cents at $55.10 a barrel on the ICE futures exchange in London.
BONDS: U.S. government bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note held at 2.27 percent.