Stocks, oil slip with eyes on Greece; hospital shares jump
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global stock markets and oil prices edged lower on Thursday on lingering worries over Greece, though a Supreme Court ruling upholding tax subsidies drove U.S. hospital stocks to record highs.
Concerns over the possible impact of Greece's debt crisis on European energy demand weighed on crude prices along with weaker U.S. refined fuels.
A failure on Thursday to clinch a deal between Athens and its three creditor institutions - the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and European Union - set up a last-ditch effort to reach agreement on Saturday to avoid a default next week.
Without a deal by the weekend to unlock frozen aid, Greece is set to default on a crucial repayment to the International Monetary Fund next Tuesday.
"Watching Greek headlines. That's kind of holding markets back," said Vassili Serebriakov, currency strategist at BNP Paribas in New York.
Market participants had assumed this week that a deal would eventually be reached after European officials said on Monday and Tuesday a proposal from Greece was a good basis for talks.
On Wall Street, hospital shares surged, with several hitting all-time highs, after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld tax subsidies that are key to President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law. The S&P 500 healthcare index rose 0.5 percent.
U.S. transport stocks, considered a proxy for economic activity, unofficially entered correction territory, closing down 10.6 percent from a Dec. 29 closing high. Continued...