Healthcare stocks pull Wall Street lower

NYSE trader Image copyright Reuters

US markets closed lower after weak performances from pharmaceutical firms and private hospital groups.

The Dow Jones lost 0.14%, or 29.58 points, to 20924.76 points. The S&P 500 shed 0.29% to 2368.39 while the Nasdaq Composite was 0.26% lower at 5833.93.

Pharma stocks fell after President Donald Trump said that he was planning "a new system" to increase competition in the industry and bring down prices.

Merck and Pfizer were among the top fallers, losing 1.05% and 0.77%.

Several hospital groups also fell sharply after Republicans announced a proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act.

Despite doubts about the bill's prospects, Tenet Healthcare lost 7.11% and Universal Health Services fell 2.24% over fears they could face cutbacks.

Shares in Snap, the owner of Snapchat, slid further as enthusiasm for the stock continued to wane.

Snap's shares had soared on Thursday last week when they made their debut, but on Monday they dropped 12%.

On Tuesday, they tumbled 9.8% to $21.44 following a lukewarm reception from analysts.