(By Balachander) U.S. stocks ended with modest losses, recovering from sharp retreat earlier in the day after the Supreme Court backed most of President Barack Obama's health-care reform law and European leaders convene for a summit to address the debt woes.
S&P 500 Index lost 0.21 percent to finish at 1,329.04. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.20 percent to end at 12,602.03. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.90 percent to close at 2,849.49.
Stocks extended their losses after the Supreme Court decided to uphold Obama's health-care overhaul law that requires that most Americans to carry health insurance by 2014 or face a penalty.
Also denting the sentiment were concerns as to whether the two-day European Union summit will come up with strong measures to stem the debt crisis in the eurozone.
On the US economic front, the economy grew at a 1.9 percent annualized rate in the first quarter, a report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis confirmed. The number of Americans who continued to receive jobless benefits fell last week, a government data showed, though the numbers rose above expectations. Jobless claims dropped 6,000 to 386,000 in the week ending June 23 from the previous week's revised figure of 392,000, while economists projected a decline to 385,000.
On Wednesday, U.S. stocks ended in green amid upbeat domestic economic readings on home sales and durable-goods orders.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: JPM, FDO, PAYX, NWSA, RIMM, NKE, ONXX, RSH
In corporate news, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) retreated 2.45 percent after media reported that the banking giant's credit-derivative trading loss may total as much as $9 billion.
HCA Holdings Inc. (NYSE:HCA), Tenet Healthcare Corp. (NYSE:THC), Molina Healthcare Inc. (NYSE:MOH), WellPoint Inc. (NYSE:WLP) and WellCare Health Plans Inc. (NYSE: WCG) were among majors movers after the top court decided to back the U.S. administration's health-care overhaul legislation.
Family Dollar Stores Inc. (NYSE: FDO) declined 2.79 percent after the operator of self-service retail discount stores posted quarterly earnings and the company continued to forecast gross margin pressure for 2012. Matthews, North Carolina-based FDO's sales for the third quarter trailed Wall Street expectations and its margins contracted.
Paychex Inc. (NASDAQ:PAYX) lost 2.98 percent after the New York-based payroll services provider posted lower-than-expected quarterly revenue and issued downbeat forecast for 2013.
News Corp. (NASDAQ: NWSA) fell 1.43 percent after the New York-based media company announced plans to separate its publishing and media and entertainment businesses into two distinct publicly traded companies.
Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:ONXX) fell 3.65 percent after the U.S. health regulators granted a priority review to Bayer's New Drug Application (NDA) for new colorectal cancer drug. Bayer and Onyx will co-promote regorafenib in the U.S.
RadioShack Corp. (NYSE:RSH) shed 5.41 percent. Scott Young resigned as Executive Vice President-Chief Merchandise Officer of the Fort Worth, Texas-based retailer of consumer electronic goods, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
Research In Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ:RIMM), Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) and Accenture Plc (NYSE:ACN) are due to report their quarterly earnings after the markets close.
European markets ended lower amid the EU summit, with Germany's DAX down 1.27 percent to close at 6,149.91. France's CAC40 lost 0.37 percent to finish at 3,051.68. U.K.'s FTSE 100 fell 0.56 percent to end at 5,493.06.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index dropped 0.95 percent to trade at 2,195.97. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.79 percent to close at 19,025.27. Japan's Nikkei 225 jumped 1.65 percent to end at 8,874.11. India's BSE Sensex finished at 16,990.76, up 0.14 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Crude oil futures slumped 2.07 percent to $78.550 per barrel and natural gas futures lost 1.39 percent to $2.759 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures retreated 1.50 percent to $1,554.80 per ounce and silver futures plunged 2.24 percent to $26.395 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro fell 0.15 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2450. The British pound shed 0.33 percent against the greenback to 1.5516, and the dollar dropped 0.34 percent against the Japanese yen to 79.4500.