By Kristina Peterson Stocks' modest gains dried up Wednesday afternoon as health-care stocks moved deeper into the red following President Obama's latest call on Congress to pass health-care legislation. The sector, which is a traditional defensive haven, has struggled throughout Wednesday's session, hurt at first by optimism sparked by strong reports on jobs and U.S. service sector activity. But the health-care category's losses piled up recently, following conclusion of the president's latest remarks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI), which was up more than 60 points at its intraday high, was recently down 22up just two points at 10,407.72. Looking to push the "long and wrenching debate" over health care into its final stages, President Barack Obama asked lawmakers to schedule a vote on overhaul legislation "in the next few weeks." Looking to push the "long and wrenching debate" over health care into its final stages, President Barack Obama asked lawmakers to schedule a vote on overhaul legislation "in the next few weeks." "No matter which approach you favor, I believe the United States Congress owes the American people a final vote on health-care reform," Obama said Wednesday in remarks at the White House. "We have debated this issue thoroughly, not just for a year, but for decades." Investors have fretted that any legislation might hurt the ability of private health-care companies to seek profits. On Wednesday, the S&P 500's health-care sector was off 0.4%, leaving the broader index little changed, up just 0.3%. Its materials sector was its biggest gainer, up 1.4% amid an increase in commodity prices. Headlining Wednesday's economic news, payroll giant Automatic Data Processing reported a fewer-than-expected private-sector job losses. The report is an important precursor to the government's February employment report due Friday morning. Traders' fears of a weather-induced slide in Friday's report faded somewhat following the release of the ADP numbers. Analysts are expecting Friday's report from the government to show a loss of 75,000 jobs from U.S. nonfarm payrolls in February, according to a Dow Jones Newswires survey. "I don't think [the Friday report] is going to be a big market mover unless it's extremely positive or negative," said Jim McDonald, chief investment strategist at Northern Trust Global Investments. "Anything in the middle is going to be considered snow-induced." In other economic news on Wednesday, the Institute for Supply Management said U.S. non-manufacturing activity, a measure of the service sector, expanded at a faster-than-expected pace in February. And the Federal Reserve's beige book of regional economic indicators was consistent with bank officials' recent comments painting a picture of a gradual recovery underway. The Nasdaq Composite (RIXF) fell 0.2%. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock (SPX) index declined 0.1%. Movers Industrial giant Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) rose 0.8% as the economically sensitive company was boosted by the latest round of improving data points. General Electric Co. (GE) rose 0.5%, boosted by the signs of economic growth, along with materials components Alcoa Inc. (AA) and DuPont (DD). Alcoa rose 0.8% and DuPont climbed 0.7%. The Dow was also bolstered by its financial components as Fitch Ratings said U.S. credit card delinquencies declined in the January collection period, though charge-offs spiked. Drug maker Pfizer (PFE) was the Dow's worst component. The stock shed 2.1% after Medivation said its experimental Alzheimer's disease treatment Dimebon, which was in development with Pfizer, failed to show effectiveness in a large late-stage study. The news sent shares of Medivation (MDVN) -- which has no products on the market and isn't a Dow component -- plunging 67% on heavy volume. Novell (NOVL) shares surged 28% to $6.1, topping an offer price announced late Tuesday from hedge fund Elliott Associates and sparking speculation another software company or hedge fund could step in with a higher bid. Overseas, the Greek government announced a new austerity plan Wednesday totaling 4.8 billion ($6.53 billion) to ensure it can meet its deficit-cutting pledge this year, including steep cuts in civil service salaries and entitlements. Greece will also raise its sales tax by two percentage points. Greece's planned measures helped prop up the euro against the dollar, which was also weaker against the yen. In other markets, crude-oil prices climbed above $80 a barrel after the government reported a big jump in oil inventories along with an improvement in demand. Meanwhile, gold futures rose and Treasurys declined, with the 10-year note off 6/32 to yield 3.631%.