Market News: Dow Jones Industrial Average Falls for Fifth Straight Session

Stock Market News Today, Jan. 27: U.S. stocks are compounding last week's selloff, with all three major indices dropping into the red as home sales fell 7% in December.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 41.23 points, or 0.3%, to 15,837.75; the S&P 500 fell 0.5%, or 8.73 points, to 1,781.56; and the Nasdaq fell 1.1%, or 44.56 points, to 4,083.61.

Stock futures began the session trading in positive territory amid more positive corporate earnings reports, including from Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT), but dropped amid the dire home sales report, which also revealed that home sales were up 16.4% for the year over last year, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Energy futures also plummeted today, with crude oil, heating oil, and natural gas futures significantly off. Gold and platinum fell, but silver gained about 0.4%.

Stock Market Winners Today: Merck, Oramed

While most of the stock market is weighed, several stocks are welcoming positive momentum today, many of which are in the healthcare sector.

Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK) hit its highest level since 2001 today, with shares up 2.5% with a new top of $54.10. MRK closed at $52.53, for a 1.06% gain. About 30 million shares traded hands today, versus an average of 12 million.

MRK is rallying on an upgrade to Overweight from Underweight at Morgan Stanley, which set a price target of $60. The move was based on positive prospects for a new cancer drug.

In other positive movers, Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: ORMP) climbed 21.9% at $24.38 after it said it will report results from a Phase II study of its oral insulin capsule.

And Xoom Corp. (Nasdaq: XOOM) gained 9.1% to $26.02 after the stock was upgraded to a Strong Buy from Market Perform at Raymond James.

Finally, Shanda Games Ltd. (Nasdaq ADR: GAME) rose more than 15%, notching a new 52-week high at $6.50, after it announced a buyout offer of $6.90 a share, a 22% premium to Friday's close.

Now for the losers...

Downside Movers: BioCryst, Vodafone

BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: BCRX) slumped more than 15% today at $9.81 after it was downgraded by Wells Fargo to a Market Perform rating from Outperform. Wells Fargo's new price target range is $9 to $10 per share.

In technology stocks news, Vodafone Group PLC. (Nasdaq: VOD) stock fell 3.26% today after AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) addressed recent acquisition rumors and said it will not bid for the European firm.

Finally, KB Home (NYSE: KBH) closed down 2.7% at $17.55, after hitting a day low of $17, after the stock was downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Barclays, which kept its $18 price target. KBH is among the many homebuilders also weighed by today's gloomy housing report.

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