NEW YORK, April 17 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks ended lower on Wednesday as major health care shares declined, dragging the market.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average decreased 3.12 points, or 0.01 percent, to 26,449.54. The S&P 500 fell 6.61 points, or 0.23 percent, to 2,900.45. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 4.15 points, or 0.05 percent, to 7,996.08.
The S&P 500 health care sector closed 2.89 percent lower, following a previous rout.
Shares of U.S. health care giant UnitedHealth Group slid 1.86 percent on Wednesday after a 4.01-percent decrease in the previous session. Shares of Alexion Pharmaceuticals and DaVita, also health care big names, fell 8.05 percent and 7.72 percent, respectively.
The health care is one among the worst-performing group this year as calls for lower drug prices and debates about medical care plans in the United States have weighted on the sector, experts noted.
Shares of Qualcomm jumped 12.25 percent following a 23.21-percent surge in the previous session, fueled by the news that the company and Apple have settled a lawsuit regarding royalty disputes. Apple stock also closed 1.95 percent higher.
Wall Street also digested a slew of newly-released corporate earnings.
Morgan Stanley generated first-quarter profit of 1.39 U.S. dollars per share, according to a Wednesday report by the bank, beating analysts' estimates of 1.17 dollars per share surveyed by Refinitiv. Its revenue also beat market consensus. The stock was up 2.64 percent.
PepsiCo stock gained 3.76 percent after the U.S. beverage company delivered stronger-than-anticipated quarterly earnings on Wednesday.
Of the S&P 500 companies that have reported so far, about 84.6 percent have topped analyst expectations, according to CNBC, while citing FactSet data. Enditem