Health care stocks skid, keeping Dow shy of 20,000 mark

U.S. stock indexes were slightly lower Wednesday as health care companies continued to struggle. And while the Dow Jones industrial average remained near record highs, it ended the trading day short of the 20,000-point milestone that so many investors had hoped to see this week. 

The Dow dipped 32 points, or about 0.15 percent, to 19,942. Goldman Sachs was responsible for almost all of that loss, falling almost 1 percent Wednesday. 

Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index lost almost 6 points, or 0.25 percent, to 2,265. The Nasdaq composite fell nearly 13 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,471. More stocks rose than fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading remained light as the end-of-year holidays approached.

Cancer drug maker Celgene dipped $2.08, or 1.8 percent, to $116.44 and health insurance company Anthem lost $2.68, or 1.8 percent, to $144.98 as health care stocks fell. The S&P 500 health care index is down about 4.5 percent this year. It’s the only sector that is currently lower than it was at the end of 2015.

Shipping company FedEx said its quarterly expenses climbed and its earnings fell short of Wall Street estimates. The company’s stock lost $5.61, or 2.8 percent, to $193.13.

Social networking site Twitter slumped after Chief Technology Officer Adam Messinger said he’s leaving the company. The struggling company has seen a number of executives leave recently. Former Chief Operating Officer Adam Bain left in November. In October Twitter said it would eliminate 9 percent of its workforce. Twitter fell 80 cents, or 4.4 percent, to $17.13.

Banks also slipped. Goldman Sachs fell $2.20, or just under 1 percent, to $240.89, the biggest loss among the 30 stocks in the Dow average. Goldman is trading near an all-time high, and its 32 percent gain since the presidential election is far better than any other Dow stock.