- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 13, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are slightly lower Tuesday morning as health care companies including distributors of prescription drugs and medical suppliers slump. Retailers are rising following strong fourth-quarter results from Under Armour and more gains for Amazon. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed almost 3 percent from Friday through Monday after a 10 percent plunge over the previous two weeks.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 fell 4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,651 as of 11 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 56 points, or 0.2 percent, to 24,544. Earlier it skidded 180 points. The Nasdaq composite added 5 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,987. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks was unchanged at 1,490.

HEALTH SCARE: Prescription drug distributor AmerisourceBergen jumped $7.55, or 84 percent, to $97 after The Wall Street Journal reported that Walgreens Boots Alliance wants to buy the rest of the company. It already owns a 26 percent stake in AmerisourceBergen, which is one of the largest prescription drug distributors in the U.S. and also distributes products to hospitals and other health systems. The Wall Street Journal said Walgreens reached out several weeks ago about a deal but that no offer has been made. Walgreens added 35 cents to $68.81.

Separately, the Journal reported that Amazon is looking to win over hospitals and clinics to distribute a variety of medical items. Amazon rose $29.29, or 2.1 percent, to $1,415.52. Two other distributors of prescription drugs also fell, as Cardinal Health lost $2.59, or 3.8 percent, to $65.44 and McKesson shed $2.62, or 1.8 percent, to $146.40.

In January Amazon announced a partnership with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway aimed at reducing health care costs. It’s widely believed to have designs on a larger role in the health care system.

CHIPPED TOOTH: The Federal Trade Commission said it is suing three large dental product suppliers for conspiring to deny discounts to groups that buy products for small practices. It said their actions violated antitrust law, and that Henry Schein, Patterson, and privately-held Benco control 85 percent of the $10 billion market for dental products in the U.S.

Henry Schein rejected the allegations and said it will defend itself in court. Its stock fell $7.19, or 10 percent, to $65 and Patterson sank $2.57, or 7.8 percent, to $30.35.

ON THE REBOUND: Under Armour climbed after it reported better-than-expected sales as shoe and accessory revenue picked up. The stock had plunged 50 percent in 2017 on top of a 30 percent decline in 2016. It rose $2.61, or 18.4 percent, to $16.85. Other athletic apparel retailers including Foot Locker also gained ground.

Meal kit company Blue Apron, which had fallen hard since it went public in June, took a smaller loss than analysts expected and posted stronger revenue. The stock rose 19 cents, or 5.7 percent, to $3.54. It went public at $10 a share in late June.

PUMP IT UP: Nutrition supplement company GNC Holdings soared $1.05, or 24.9 percent, to $5.24 after it formed a joint venture with Harbin Pharmaceutical Group of China. Harbin is investing $300 million in GNC, which will make it the company’s largest shareholder.

OIL: Energy companies declined as benchmark U.S. crude fell 58 cents, or 1 percent, to $58.71 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dropped 51 cents to $62.08 a barrel in London.

BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.84 percent from 2.86 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 107.54 yen from 108.67 yen. The euro rose to $1.2356 from $1.2284.

OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX shed 0.3 percent and the CAC 40 of France fell 0.2 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.2 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 lost 0.7 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added 1.4 percent. South Korea’s Kospi rose 1.1 percent.


AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/marley%20jayt .

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