U.S. markets were largely even in midday trading Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrials flat from yesterday and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq down about 0.3% and 0.4%, respectively. Oil slid about 1.1% to $44.74 a barrel, based on U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate.
Shares of Aetna (AET) and Humana (HUM) were each down sharply after Reuters reported that U.S antitrust regulators are planning to block their proposed $34 billion tie-up. Aetna and Humana shares were off roughly 3% and 4%, respectively.
The deal has come under close scrutiny of U.S. regulators over concerns that a combined insurance entity could lead to higher prices, adding pressure on U.S. industry peers, including including UnitedHealth (UNH) , according to the report.
Meanwhile, shares of Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) , the Phoenix-based miner and member of Real Money's Stressed Out watch list, fell about 5%, after analysts at Barclays issued a report Tuesday about a global oversupply of copper. "No new mines are needed this decade," the analysts said, noting that supply will not likely catch up with demand until at least 2020.
Shares of agricultural chemical producer Bayer (BAYRY) were down more than 1% in afternoon trading after the world's largest seed producer Monsanto (MON) rebuffed a sweetened takeover offer of $64 billion from Bayer, noting it would be open for further discussion if other companies show interest.
Bayer had raised its bid for Monsanto last Thursday to $125 per share from $122.