US STOCKS-Momentum stocks slide anew, dragging equities lower

Fri Apr 4, 2014 12:56pm EDT

* Payrolls roughly in line with expectations

* E*Trade and Netflix weigh on the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq

* Mylan up on report of Meda AB buy

* Dow off 0.4 pct; S&P 500 off 0.7 pct; Nasdaq down 2.3 pct (Recasts lead, headline, updates prices, adds quotes)

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, April 4 (Reuters) - The Nasdaq tumbled more than 2 percent on Friday, led by another selloff in momentum stocks like Netflix and TripAdvisor, as investors ignored relatively strong March jobs data.

Momentum stocks, representing high-growth companies mostly in the tech and biotech sectors that led 2013's rally, have been under pressure in recent days as investors have shifted away from these names. After appearing to stabilize earlier in the week, internet and biotech stocks fell for a second straight session.

The Nasdaq biotech index lost 3.3 percent. It has dropped 17 percent since reaching a high on Feb. 25. Biogen Idec Inc fell 3.6 percent to $291. Gilead Sciences dropped 2.4 percent.

"The market (as a whole) hasn't rolled over, but these bigger high-flyers are taking it on the chin, which suggests some people are changing their ideals," said Michael Matousek, head trader at U.S. Global Investors Inc in San Antonio, which manages about $1.3 billion. "They don't want to be in growth names. They want to be more defensive."

The S&P 500's top seven decliners were Nasdaq names, led by E*Trade Financial, down 7.5 percent at $20.50. Netflix dropped 4.2 percent to $337.72.

"You've got some big names in there. There is a high correlation inside of those groups," said Keith Bliss, senior vice president of Cuttone & Co in New York. "Managers tend to trade the entire group as opposed to individual names. So that, of course, is hitting the Nasdaq and everybody else."

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 65.95 points, or 0.40 percent, to 16,506.60. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index slid 13.90 points, or 0.74 percent, to 1,874.87. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 96.22 points, or 2.27 percent, to 4,141.52.

The S&P 500 earlier touched a record high of 1,897.28, the third time this week that the index has set an intraday record.

Equities opened higher on optimism spurred by the nonfarm payrolls report, which showed that employers added 192,000 jobs in March, just shy of the 200,000 forecast, after hiring 197,000 in February. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 percent. With a solid pace of hiring for a second month, the economy appears to be recovering from a winter slowdown.

Mylan Inc rose 3.7 percent to $51.68 after a report said the company was looking to acquire Swedish rival Meda AB . Meda, though, said on Friday that it had rejected Mylan's takeover approach. On Thursday, Mylan sued Celgene Corp to stop the latter's effort to keep generic versions of two drugs that generate $4.5 billion of annual sales off the market.

Halozyme Therapeutics Inc plunged 29.1 percent to $8.22 after the company said it was temporarily halting enrollment of patients and dosing of its cancer drug in a mid-stage trial on patients with pancreatic cancer, after the recommendation of an independent safety committee. (Editing by Bernadette Baum, Nick Zieminski and Jan Paschal)

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