Drug Stocks Drop After Fed Cut

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Shares of pharmaceutical companies dipped slightly, after the Federal Reserve cut a key interest rate by half a percentage point in an effort to revive the economy.

Shares of several major drug makers all fell by just over 1 percent shortly after the Fed decision was announced.

Pfizer fell from $17.83 per share to $17.61, Merck fell from $29.83 to $29.47, and Schering-Plough fell from $14.06 to $13.88 _ each a drop of 1.2 percent or 1.3 percent. Wyeth, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Eli Lilly each dipped by 1.1 percent.

Johnson & Johnson shares fell by less than a percent after the Fed decision was announced. They had been dropping all day after the maker of prescription drugs, consumer health products and medical devices was downgraded by an analyst with J.P. Morgan.

JP Morgan took the step, ironically, partly because J&J stock is trading at a far higher price than competing pharmaceutical companies and is nearly at its $66 level from the beginning of the year. Shares of J&J dropped from their opening price of $63.37 to as low as $61.05 after the Fed decision, then started rebounding.

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