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Stock Indexes Up Slightly; Trump Threatens Drug Firms | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis

U.S. stock indexes were mixed in midday action Tuesday, as health insurance provider UnitedHealth (UNH) kept the blue chip Dow at the front of the pack.

The  Nasdaq was flat, while the S&P 500 was just under the break-even line. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.1%. The small-cap Russell 2000 added 0.2%.

XAutoplay: On | OffVolume in the stock market today was down on the NYSE but up on the Nasdaq compared with the same time Monday.

Dow component UnitedHealth gapped up 5%, topping the Street’s estimate on earnings. The nation’s largest health insurance company has exited most of the ObamaCare markets. The exits chopped $1.6 billion off revenue.

UnitedHealth’s stock retook its 50-day line as shares hit a new high. The megacap stock has been consolidating since early September. Tuesday’s move could be seen as a breakout from a flat pattern.

In the Nasdaq 100, biotech stock Biogen (BIIB) advanced 3% despite noise from President Trump on drug prices. In a press conference, the president said “the world is taking advantage of us.” Trumped vowed to reduce prices, which he said are “out of control.”

In the small-cap S&P 600, Servis1st Bank (SFBS) jumped 4% in busy volume. The Alabama-based bank is thinly traded. Many of the small banks have been notching new highs recently.

A few of the big money center banks showed good action midday Tuesday. Morgan Stanley (MS) gained about 1%. The company reported quarterly earnings that topped the Street’s consensus estimate. Morgan Stanley is in the 5% buy zone from a 48.59 buy point.

Citigroup (C) also is in its 5% buy zone. The stock rose about 1% as it aimed at ending a seven-session losing streak.

Goldman Sachs (GS) fell about 2% despite topping the Street’s target on earnings. The stock is in a saucer-with-handle pattern that began about seven months ago.

Among IBD’s 197 industry groups, retail and medical groups rose, while energy and soft drinks fell.

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