S&P 500, Dow slip on grim earnings, coronavirus worries
By Medha Singh and Akanksha Rana (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and Dow Jones slipped on Thursday, giving up early gains as concerns about dismal first-quarter earnings and lasting economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic offset better-than-expected weekly jobless claims numbers. A 4.7% fall for Boeing Co drove the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrials down more than 1%, as European rival Airbus said it was examining requests to defer deliveries after a collapse in travel demand
By Medha Singh and Akanksha Rana
(Reuters) - The S&P 500 and Dow Jones slipped on Thursday, giving up early gains as concerns about dismal first-quarter earnings and lasting economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic offset better-than-expected weekly jobless claims numbers.
A 4.7% fall for Boeing Co drove the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrials down more than 1%, as European rival Airbus said it was examining requests to defer deliveries after a collapse in travel demand.
The Nasdaq outperformed the broader market with Amazon.com and Microsoft Corp boosting the tech-heavy index for the fifth session in six.
Wall Street has swung this week between hopes of a peaking in coronavirus cases and fears of the biggest economic slump since the Great Depression, as lockdown measures crushed consumer spending and business activity.
Latest data showed jobless claims fell slightly to 5.2 million last week from an upwardly revised 6.62 million the week before, but the total figure for the past month still topped a stunning 20 million.
"We are still struggling to grab a foothold on the deterioration of what's going on," said Andrew Smith, chief investment officer of Delos Capital Advisors in Dallas.
"The jobless claims number is better than what economists expected, but it's still a little too soon to be extrapolating to the 'all clear ahead' road."
After a 27% rally from its March lows, the S&P 500 index still stands 18% below its record high as first-quarter earnings kicked off with U.S. banks preparing for a wave of future loan defaults following a halt in business activity.
Analysts estimate earnings for S&P 500 companies slumped 12.8% in the first quarter, with U.S. economic growth expected to have contracted at its fastest pace since World War Two.
Trump is now expected to announce "new guidelines" for re-opening the economy at a news conference on Thursday, as he said data suggested the United States had passed the peak on new infections.
"What the market cannot price in perfectly is when the economy re-opens, what its nuances will look like and what its impact will be on corporate profits one quarter, two quarters and a year away," said David Bahnsen, chief investment officer at Bahnsen Group in Newport Beach, California.
Morgan Stanley wrapped up earnings for the big U.S. lenders, reporting a plunge in quarterly profit as its advisory and wealth management businesses took a hit from the economic fallout of the pandemic. The bank subsector dropped 3.9%.
At 10:19 a.m. ET, the S&P 500 was down 12.13 points, or 0.44%, at 2,771.23 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 245.72 points, or 1.05%, at 23,258.63. The Nasdaq Composite was up 28.97 points, or 0.35%, at 8,422.15.
The Philadelphia chip index rose 1% after the world's largest contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) reported a near doubling in first-quarter net profit.
However, United Airlines Holdings Inc slipped 10.5% as the carrier said it cut its flight schedule by 90% for May and warned travel demand now "essentially at zero shows no sign of improving in the near term".
Declining issues outnumbered advancers more than 3-to-1 on the NYSE and 1.6-to-1 on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 11 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 33 new highs and 21 new lows.
(Reporting by Medha Singh and Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru; Editing by Sagarika Jaisinghani and Shounak Dasgupta)
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.