S&P 500, Dow dip as spiking COVID-19 infections eclipse vaccine hopes
By Stephen Culp NEW YORK (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Dow edged lower on Friday as investors headed into the weekend grappling with disappointing fiscal stimulus news and uncertain efforts to combat a spiraling COVID-19 pandemic with vaccines.
By Stephen Culp
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Dow edged lower on Friday as investors headed into the weekend grappling with disappointing fiscal stimulus news and uncertain efforts to combat a spiraling COVID-19 pandemic with vaccines.
Semiconductor stocks and other stay-at-home plays, which have thrived throughout the health crisis, helped keep the Nasdaq green.
Throughout the week, investors whipsawed between economically-sensitive cyclical stocks and pandemic-resistant market leaders.
The S&P 500 and the Dow were on track to post marginal losses for the week, while the tech-laden Nasdaq appeared set to settle a bit higher than last Friday's close.
"There's an ebb and flow to the market and the vaccine represents the hope," said Matthew Keator, managing partner at the Keator Group, a wealth management firm in Lenox, Massachusetts. "The time it will take to see it distributed and take effect reflects the reality of the situation. With the rising cases of the virus and the shutdowns at the state level that's something the market is paying close attention to."
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced late Thursday that he would allow key pandemic-relief lending programs at the Federal Reserve to expire at the end of the year, saying the $455 billion allocated last spring under the CARES act should be returned to Congress to be reallocated as grants for small companies.
The decision to pull the plug on CARES act, a program deemed essential by the central bank, comes at a time of spiraling new coronavirus infects and a fresh wave of layoffs, was called "disappointing" by Chicago Federal Reserve president Charles Evans.
Record infection numbers have caused COVID hospitalizations to soar by 50% and have prompted a new round of school and businesses closures, curfews and social distancing restrictions, hobbling the economic recovery from the deepest recession since the Great Depression.
In the latest development in the race to develop a vaccine, Pfizer Inc
The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> fell 132.83 points, or 0.45%, to 29,350.4, the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 6.66 points, or 0.19%, to 3,575.21 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 20.16 points, or 0.17%, to 11,924.87.
Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, industrials <.SPLRCI> were down the most, while utilities <.SPLRCU> were enjoying the largest percentage gains.
The Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index <.SOX> outperformed the broader market for the second straight session, rising 0.6%
Stay-at-home beneficiary Zoom Video Communications Inc
Gilead Sciences Inc
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.08-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.06-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 16 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 112 new highs and seven new lows.
(Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan and Medha Singh in Bengaluru and Stephen Culp in New York; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Tom Brown)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.