US STOCKS-Wall St drops as biotechs, semis hit Nasdaq

miércoles 25 de marzo de 2015 16:30 GYT

* Durable goods data unexpectedly weak

* Kraft surges on M&A deal

* Indexes off: Dow 1.62 pct, S&P 1.46 pct, Nasdaq 2.37 pct (Updates to market close)

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, March 25 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks dropped on Wednesday as a slump in technology and biotechs sent the Nasdaq to its biggest decline in nearly a year while the S&P 500 fell through key support levels.

Semiconductors and biotech stocks weighed heavily on the Nasdaq, suffering their third straight session of declines after strong gains in the prior week.

An index of biotechnology shares was down 4.1 percent for the session, its biggest fall since Dec. 23. The index finished below its 14-day average for the first time since Feb. 11 and its 50-day moving average for the first time since Oct. 17.

The PHLX semiconductor index slumped 4.6 percent for its biggest percentage decline since Oct. 10 and also ended the session below both its 14-day and 50-day moving averages.

"We've got a little bit of a reprieve from a data standpoint, and harvesting some of the excesses in some of those stronger moves is what is taking place," said Eric Wiegand, senior portfolio manager at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in New York.   Continuación...