Pharma, Tech Kill Early Gains

Pricier oil, Merck troubles outshine Bank of America's 'success'
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2008 3:40 PM CDT
Pharma, Tech Kill Early Gains
Schering-Plough Corp provided this undated file photo of the cholesterol-lowering drug Vytorin a product of a joint venture between pharmaceutical companies Merck & Co., and Schering-Plough Corp. Drugmakers Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co. took the highly unusual step of delaying their second-quarter...   (AP Photo)

The markets failed to hold on to early-session gains today as oil rose above $131 per barrel and the overall economic outlook remained downcast, MarketWatch reports. The Dow lost 29.23 points to close at 11,467.34, the Nasdaq fell 3.25 to 2,279.53, and the S&P 500 dropped just 0.68, settling at 1,260.00.

Bank of America advanced after reporting a 41% decline in profits that nonetheless bested expectations. Pharmaceutical giant Merck saw today’s biggest fall, 6.2%, after a Norwegian report discredited cholesterol drug Vytorin. The tech sector remained moribund in the wake of last week’s poor results from Google, AMD, and Microsoft. “We could probably go a few more weeks like this before we get a true round of capitulation in August,” one analyst said. (More Dow Jones stories.)

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