US STOCKS-Wall St inches down after U.S. strikes in Syria; healthcare weak

martes 23 de septiembre de 2014 12:29 GYT

* Indexes: Dow off 0.21 pct, S&P 0.15 pct, Nasdaq up 0.04 pct

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Sept 23 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks inched lower open on Tuesday, as conflict in the Middle East intensified and the U.S. Treasury's move to curb "tax inversion" deals pulled healthcare stocks lower.

The United States and Arab allies bombed Syria for the first time on Tuesday, killing scores of Islamic State fighters and members of a separate al Qaeda-linked group, opening a new front against militants by joining Syria's three-year-old civil war.

The S&P healthcare sector lost 0.2 percent, weighed down by a 1.7 percent fall in AbbVie to $57.73. The Obama administration took several actions late Monday that will reduce the tax benefits available to companies that have done inversion deals, while also making new inversions more difficult and potentially less rewarding.

AbbVie has agreed to a deal to acquire Shire, which fell 1.9 percent to $251.38 in New York. Medtronic, which is working to close an inversion deal into Ireland with rival Covidien lost 3.3 percent to $63.78.

"Those are the stocks that are weak today, any of those companies that are in the process of using an inversion tax tactic," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York.

"Most of those are healthcare names, perhaps they can justify them, but that is where we are certainly seeing some weakness day."

The Dow Jones industrial average was falling 36.36 points, or 0.21 percent, to 17,136.32, the S&P 500 was losing 3.01 points, or 0.15 percent, to 1,991.28 and the Nasdaq Composite was adding 1.70 points, or 0.04 percent, to 4,529.38.   Continuación...