April 4, 2014 / 7:42 PM / 4 years ago

US STOCKS-Momentum stocks tumble; Nasdaq falls more than 2 pct

* Payrolls roughly in line with expectations

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

* Mylan up on report of Meda AB buy

* Dow off 0.8 pct; S&P 500 off 1.1 pct; Nasdaq down 2.4 pct (Updates to late afternoon)

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, April 4 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell sharply on Friday as momentum shares like Netflix and TripAdvisor sold off for a second straight session, putting the Nasdaq on track for its second-worst day of the year.

The big drop in momentum stocks overshadowed the day’s relatively strong March jobs data, which helped the Dow and S&P 500 hit intraday record highs early in the session.

Momentum names - typically high-growth companies mostly in the tech and biotech sectors that led 2013’s rally - have sold off in recent weeks but appeared to stabilize earlier this week.

Two weeks ago, a drop in Gilead Sciences’ stock, after U.S. lawmakers asked it to explain the $84,000 price tag of its new hepatitis C drug Sovaldi, set off a wave of losses in other biotech and momentum names.

“For the past couple of weeks, the high beta, high risk, high reward type plays have been underperfoming the larger-cap S&P 500 and even the Dow,” said Joe Bell, senior equities analyst with Schaeffer’s Investment Research.

He said it’s hard to say whether this is indicative of a longer-term pullback for the market, but he pointed out that “in the short-term, it’s a concern. I think you want to see some of those names come back into leadership here.”

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 136.34 points or 0.82 percent, to 16,436.21. The S&P 500 lost 20.59 points or 1.09 percent, to 1,868.18. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 100.875 points or 2.38 percent, to 4,136.865.

The Nasdaq is well below its intraday high for the year of 4,371.706, which was set on March 6.

The Nasdaq biotech index dropped 3.5 percent and on track for a loss for the week. It has fallen 17 percent since reaching a high on Feb. 25.

For the day, Biogen Idec Inc was down 4.1 percent at $2899.58, while Gilead Sciences was down 1.8 percent at $72.69.

The S&P 500’s top seven percentage decliners were Nasdaq names. E*Trade Financial slid 8.1 percent to $20.36, Netflix dropped 4.6 percent to $338.49, and TripAdvisor fell 6.4 percent to $85.50.

The S&P 500 earlier touched a record high of 1,897.28, the third time this week that the index had set an intraday record, while the Dow hit an intraday record high of 16,631.63.

Stocks opened higher on optimism spurred by the nonfarm payrolls report, which showed 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 1.9 percent to $50.81 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 25.3 percent to $8.66 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. (Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Bernadette Baum, Nick Zieminski and Jan Paschal)

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