Stocks slip, oil falls, U.S. dollar firmer

Wed Oct 21, 2015 5:11pm EDT
 
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By Sam Forgione

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks indexes slipped on Wednesday on a tumble in healthcare and energy stocks, while oil prices slumped after U.S. government data showed a rise in crude inventories, adding to worries about oversupply.

Gloomy quarterly earnings reports dragged on European shares, but were offset by hopes for ongoing central bank support for the economy ahead of a European Central Bank meeting on Thursday.

MSCI's all-country world equity index .MIWD00000PUS was last down 0.31 percent.

U.S. health insurers's shares fell after Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said she has "serious concerns" about the plan by health insurer Aetna Inc's (AET.N: Quote) plan to acquire Humana Inc (HUM.N: Quote), and Anthem Inc's (ANTM.N: Quote) proposal to buy Cigna Corp (CI.N: Quote). The S&P healthcare index .SPXHC ended 0.86 percent lower.

Valeant Pharmaceutical's (VRX.N: Quote) U.S.-listed shares were down 40 percent intraday, hitting a low of $88.50 before regaining ground to close at $118.61, after short-seller Citron Research released a critical report about the company. Energy shares also fell with oil prices.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI closed down 0.28 percent, at 17,168.61. The S&P 500 .SPX closed down 0.58 percent, at 2,018.94. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC ended down 0.84 percent, at 4,840.12.

Europe's broad FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 ended 0.02 percent lower at 1,431.61.

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid