Blue Apron launches as US markets turn down

NYSE traders Image copyright Getty Images

Meal kit company Blue Apron held off losses on its first day as a publicly traded firm on Thursday.

But US markets overall turned negative, weighed down by technology, retail and other sectors.

Gains in financial stocks, which jumped after banks cleared the second part of an annual stress test, could not offset the declines.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 1.44% or 90.06 points to 6,144.35.

The Dow Jones shed more than 167 points, falling 0.8% to 21,287.03, and the S&P 500 fell 0.9% to 2,419.70.

Technology stocks, which rose rapidly earlier this year, have fallen in recent weeks. They drove the decline on Thursday. Apple fell 1.5% and Microsoft dropped 1.9%.

E-commerce giant Amazon fell 1.5%, also casting a shadow on Blue Apron's debut.

Blue Apron, which delivers packages of groceries pre-packaged to match the quantities needed for recipes, had hoped to raise at least $450m, or roughly $15 a share.

But Amazon's plan to buy Whole Foods, announced as Blue Apron prepared to go to market, left some investors worried about stepped-up competition in the industry.

Blue Apron cut its pricing to $10 a share. It held onto that value as the shares started trading on Thursday, rising a bit before closing where they started.

Shares in Walgreens Boots Alliance rose 1.7% after it scrapped its planned takeover of pharmacy chain Rite Aid Corp and said it would buy more than 2,000 Rite Aid stores instead for $5.2bn.

Shares in Rite Aid plunged 26.5% on the news.