Stocks drop as investors dump biotech and other former favorites; Nasdaq sinks 2.7 percent

The Associated Press

Trader Ronald Madarasz, left, and specialist Donald Civitanova work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, April 10, 2014. U.S. stock indexes are slipping lower in early trading Thursday as investors pick over a mixed batch of corporate earnings reports. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are sharply lower in afternoon trading as investors dump biotechnology shares and other industries that soared over the past year.

Biogen Idec, Gilead Sciences and other biotech companies took another plunge. After a huge run-up over the past year, those stocks have become volatile in recent weeks as the companies face scrutiny over the cost of their drugs.

Facebook, another recent investor favorite, also dropped.

The Nasdaq composite index fell 111 points, or 2.7 percent, to 4,072 as of 1:35 p.m. Eastern time.

Other indexes also fell, but not as much.

The Standard & Poor's 500 lost 29 points, or 1.6 percent, to 1,842. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 193 points, 1.2 percent, to 16,242.

Small-company stocks also slid as investors reduced their exposure to risk.

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