The three major U.S. indices ended mixed on Wednesday. In the morning, the stock market rallied on U.S. economic data and encouraging developments from Greece.
In the afternoon, the market pared gains as pharmaceuticals dragged down the broad market. Wall Street firms were also among the notable decliners.
The S&P 500 Index closed up 0.48 points, or 0.04 percent, at 1,118.79. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 9.22 points, or 0.09 percent, at 10.396.76.
Pharmaceuticals are among the leading decliners of the stock market. Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) dropped 1.59 percent, Merck (NYSE:MRK) close down 0.48 percent, and Bristol Myers (NYSE:BMY) dropped 1.58 percent.
The sector is weighed down by President Obama's remarks on health care in the afternoon, in which he called for an up-or-down vote for the health care bill, which would only require a simple majority. The Democrats, then, could potentially pass the bill without any Republican support.
Pfizer is weighed down discouraging results from the late-stage study of Dimebon, the Alzheimer's drug it developed with its partner Medivation.
Bristol-Myers also announced Wednesday that CEO James Cornelius will retire. He will be replaced by COO Lamberto Andreotti.
Greece's New Measures
Greece announced Wednesday additional austerity measures which will reduce its budget deficit by another $6.53 billion for the year. The measures will cut compensation for government employees and raise taxes.
This latest showing of commitment by the Greek government to deficit reduction drew praise from rating agencies, analysts, and various members of the media.
The cost of insuring Greek government debt fell and the price of its bonds rose.
Stocks were lifted in the morning by favorable economic data.
ADP released a report showing that private non-farm payroll declined by the least amount in two years and ISM's non-manufacturing PMI showed that the services industry grew at the fastest pace in two years.
The Fed Beige Book, released in the afternoon session, showed that economic conditions continued to expand since the last report.
However, in many districts, loan demand and hiring plans remained soft.
Wall Street firms closed mostly down, with Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) losing 0.65 percent and JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) losing 0.22 percent.
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