The S&P 500 Index pared morning gains as health care stocks drag down the index after President Obama's remarks on efforts to pass the health care hill.
The S&P 500 is up only 0.60 points, or 0.05 percent, to trade at 1,118.91 at 3:14 pm. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 4.99 points, or 0.05 percent, to trade at 10,400.99. The Nasdaq Composite is down 0.08 percent.
The Dow Jones U.S. Health Care Index is down 0.27 percent.
Humana (NYSE:HUM) is up only 0.08 percent and HealthSpring (NYSE:HS) fell 1.71 percent.
Pharmaceuticals are also down, with Bristol Myers (NYSE:BMY) falling 1.74 percent and Abbot Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) fell 1.06 percent.
Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) dropped 1.48 percent on disappointing trial results from one of its Alzheimer's drugs.
Obama continued to urge reform on health care, stating that both sides agree that the status quo is not working for the American people.
More importantly, Obama asserted that the health care bill deserves the up-or-down vote, which was used to pass the tax cuts of George W. Bush's administration.
An up-or-down vote requires a simple majority. Therefore, the Democrats can potentially pass the bill without Republican support.
In the morning trading session, the stock market was buoyed by favorable economic data. According to ADP, private non-farm payrolls showed the least monthly decline since February 2008. The services industry also grew more than expected in February.
The Fed Beige Book, released at 2 pm, confirmed the findings of the ISM, stating that nonfinancial services activity was reported as steady or improved by the majority of Districts.
Regarding employment, the report stated that the pace of layoffs slowed in most Districts, but hiring plans still remained generally soft.
The Fed Beige book also cautioned that loan demand remained weak across the country, with some district citing weak economic outlook and reservations about hiring and spending as reasons.
Follow us on twitter @IBTFinance