US STOCKS-Wall St sharply cuts gains as biotechs plunge

Fri Mar 28, 2014 3:15pm EDT
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* Biotech sector plunges in afternoon session

* Momentum stocks still in focus; Netflix falls

* Indexes turn lower for the week; Nasdaq down nearly 3 pct

* Dow up 0.2 pct; S&P 500 up 0.3 pct; Nasdaq flat (Updates to late afternoon)

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, March 28 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks sharply pared gains by late Friday afternoon on Friday, with the Nasdaq briefly turning negative, led by a decline in the biotechnology sector.

Major U.S. stock indexes had been significantly higher in most of the morning and early afternoon trade following comments from a Chinese official indicating that the country's government was ready to take steps to support its slowing economy.

But a 2.6 percent drop in the Nasdaq biotechnology index led the major indexes to session lows. The biotech sector is down nearly 7 percent for the week and down about 13 percent for the month.

Gilead Science shares were off 3.3 percent at $69.03 and Biogen Idec shares were down 4.1 percent at $297. The two stocks were the S&P 500's biggest decliners.   Continued...